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Inkanyamba : The Giant Eel


At a glance

Origin African Mythology
Classification Hybrids
Family Members N/A
Region South Africa
Associated With Storms, Rain, Thunder



The Inkanyamba is a legend in South African mythology, where it is believed that a large serpent with a horse head lives in a lake near Pietermaritzburg. The local tribes believe it to be a terrifying creature which is particularly active in the summer months. The legend of the Inkanyamba originated from cave paintings that were found in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. These animals have been referred to as rain animals due to their appearance during storms.

Physical Traits

The Inkanyamba is an aquatic creature that lives in lakes and rivers. It’s believed to be over 20 feet long and resembles a snake or eel in all aspects except the head which was clearly equine in nature. Many descriptions tend to swing between the head being that of a horse or that of a zebra. The monster is also said to have a horse like mane on its head and a fin like mane across its back.


Seasonal tornadoes and high winds are said to be due to the frustration of a male Inkanyamba in its ability to find a mate who also lives along the depths of the same river.

Powers and Abilities

Scientists believe that the Inkanyamba is a version of the Anguilla marmorata and the Mossambica, which are fresh water eels that can grow to a length of around 6 feet, the locals claim otherwise. They believe that it is much larger and has supernatural abilities. The legend surrounding the Inkanyamba states that it attracts a massive tornado during the summer months. The Xhosa tribe claims that this creature is said to take flight in the form of a giant tornado to find its mate. They are also associated with unexplained disappearances of domestic animals.

Modern Day Sightings

Game ranger Andhelezi Buthelezi first saw the creature in 1962. A caretaker named Johannes Hlongwane saw the beast twice in 1974 and 1981. In 1995, a restaurant owner named Bob Teeney spotted the animal at the Howick Falls.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does Inkanyamba do?

According to local beliefs, the Inkanyamba rises to the sky looking for a mate causing destructive tornadoes and high winds. The male Inkanyamba rises from the deep rivers while the female Inkanyamba resides in deep pools or dams.

Can Inkanyamba fly?

The Inkanyamba has the power of flight which it uses to search for a mate who supposedly resides in deep pools and dams. Otherwise the Inkanyamba keeps to water bodies.

Is Inkanyamba a dragon?

The Inkanyamba can be mistaken for a dragon but experts claim that the Inkanyamba is more closely related to a giant sea snake or an eel.

Is Inkanyamba real?

According to legend, the Inkanyamba is a serpent that lives in a waterfall lake near Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. It’s commonly found in the Howick Falls.


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