What is teh Ninki Nanka?

What is Ninki Nanka?

The Gambian Ninki-Nanka - translates as Dragon-Devil, or some reference suggest it could just mean Snake!

What is Ninki Nanka?

Ninki Nanka Head

Ninki Nanka — the legendary creature in West African folklore. Descriptions of the creature vary, but most contend that the animal is reptilian and possibly dragon-like.

Most of you by now would have heard about the 2006 CFZ expedition to Gambia, in search of Dragons!

One of the dragon-like beast they are searching for is locally known as Ninki-Nanka, which apparently translates as Dragon-Devil, but there is also some reference to suggest it could just mean Snake, that’s if you search around on the Internet and browse a few dusty cryptozoology books!

River and lake monsters are nothing new in Africa, in the Congo there are stories of a lake monster called Mokèlé-mbèmbé, in Zimbabwe there is the Chipekwe and in northern Angola there is the Isiququmadevu. But apart from a few sketchy descriptions, nobody really seems to know what the Ninki Nanka looks like. So, below, we have collected together some info to try and help explain what the Ninki-Nanka really looks like (maybe).

As mentioned above, the local name for the Gambian river and swamp monster is Ninki Nanka, which roughly translate as Dragon-Devil. It’s reputed to live along the Gambia River and in the uninhabited mangrove swamps and is usually only seen at night, when it is said to emerge from its lair and eat whatever lies in its path!

The size of Ninki Nanka seems to vary greatly depending on which story you read. It is generally thought to be around 30 feet (10 meters) long. But there are stories of it being as big as 50 feet long, that’s a whooping 15 meters!


Possibly the most famous description of the creature suggests it has the body of a Crocodile, the neck of a Giraffe and the head of a Horse – with three horns, one either side and a larger one on top of its head. Although there have been reports suggesting it is like a large snake or even a large lizard, possibly something similar to Komodo dragon.

A 30 foot komodo would be a scary sight, and you can begin to understand why just mentioning the name Ninki Nanka is enough to insight fear and panic into the locals. Superstition is no joke in Gambia, as it is believed by some that whirlpools are caused by dragons or even the devil and some ponds are sacred because spirits dwell in them. The locals won’t go anywhere near the river or swamps where the Ninki Nanka has reportedly been seen or heard. It is said that if you are unfortunate enough to have actually seen the Ninki Nanka and live to tell the tail, then you would be wise not to tell too many people, as they say if you do you will die.

A gruesome creature all round, really, assuming it even exists!

When the CFZ are back, hopefully they will have some new stories and sightings, perhaps even a better idea of just what it could be.

Related links:
Gambia Expedition 2006
English Monster Hunters in search for Killer Dragon
The 2006 Gambia Expedition (CFZ)
British Explorers Seek Ninki-Nanka and Gambo


CW Staff
CW Staff

In the late 80s I started investigating UFOs and crop circles and joined the CCCS (Centre for Crop Circle Studies) and a local group researching strange sightings and reports along the south coast of Dorset (UK). In the early ’90s I started my own research group called SPS (Strange Phenomena Studies), this was renamed in 2004 to Cryptoworld.

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One comment

  1. Besides eyewitnesses, have there been any other evidence trails( ie foot prints, recordings of noises or debris) left from the creatures?
    Ruth Harton

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