Home > baobab legends, Makasutu > Ninki Nanka Protects Ancient Baobab Forest

Ninki Nanka Protects Ancient Baobab Forest

A Ninki Nanka is a legendary creature based inWest African folklore.  According to tradition, the Ninki Nanka lives in the swamps of West Africa. The animal is said to be extremely large and very dangerous. It is said that when a child gets too confident and feels they can disobey their parents and go into the swamp they will be taken by the Ninki Nanka.

The “dragon” is rumoured to look rather like a game of zoological “consequences”, possessing the body of a crocodile, the neck of a giraffe and the head of a horse with three horns. Less fantastically, the team’s leader, Richard Freeman of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, suspects the ninki-nanka of being a species of colossal monitor lizard. “Whatever the truth,” he says, “this is the first dedicated expedition to search for this animal.”

More encouraging are the witnesses. A compelling chap called Papa Jinda had described a scene of devastation at a pumping station where, the blog gushes, “a ninki-nanka had destroyed several pipes”. It continues: “The mention of a ninki-nanka had caused a panic among the workers, and they had asked for a mirror as it was thought that the only way to get rid of the animal was to show it its reflection.

Back in 1983, amateur naturalist Owen Burnham discovered the fresh carcass of a strange beast on a remote beach in the Gambia. It was around 15 feet long and looked like a cross between a crocodile and a dolphin. Realizing that it was something unknown to science, Owen, a missionary’s son, made detailed sketches of the creature. He and his family then buried it in the hot sand above the tide line, hoping that the dry sand would preserve the body. He also made a detailed map.

Makasutu a 500-hectare piece of bush in the Kombo central district of the republic of The Gambia is deemed by some to be a devil’s home. They say he is there in the form of a ninkinanko or dragon, and protects the hidden crown and clothes of King Jatta from Busumbala who was killed 200 years ago by the Muslim king Kombo Silla on his way east to take over the country. Jatta’s men took the crown and clothes and placed them for safekeeping in the area of Makasutu, now known as the Big Forest. 

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Categories: baobab legends, Makasutu
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