The Congo’s Dingonek

Of all the weird and wonderful cryptids I’ve come across, this one has been ranked the weirdest and it’s not very hard to see why. The Dingonek of West Africa has been called many names. The jungle-walrus, ol-umaina and ndamathia—all of these are among the various names for the terrifying dingonek. If not for all the accounts of this infamous creature, its existence would be considered highly absurd. However, with so many claiming its existence also the fact that their sightings would go on to describe almost exactly the same thing makes me believe that it can’t be a fake—that maybe there is actually something hiding in the depths of that swamp.

Artistic interpretation of the famous Dingonek

With all the different sightings, the fact that they all pair up must mean something. All the various descriptions for the same thing just show that different cultures have all come across the same cryptid. But what does this creature look like and how many sightings have there been? I was only able to come across a few, but they are all from people with reputations above reproof. This terrifying creature is known to live in the rivers and lakes of the Zaire region in the Congo. The first recorded sighting of the dingonek was in the early 1900s and was recorded by Edgar B. Bronson.

John Alfred Jordan & Edgar B. Bronson, 1907

Our first recorded sighting was in the year 1907 when John Alfred Jordan, along with members of his hunting party, saw the creature near Lake Victoria. He fired a shot at it with a .303 rifle and only angered it. This made him run for his life. He described it as a cross between a sea serpent, a leopard and a whale. 3-years later after this encounter with the creature, one Edgar B. Bronson, who was among the John Jordan’s hunting party, would later go on to write about their terrifying encounter with this creature. He went on to describe it in great detail. He wrote that it was 14/15 ft (4/5m) long with a head as big as a lioness, it was shaped and marked like a leopard, had 2 long white fangs out its upper jaw, a back as broad as a hippo and was scaled like an armadillo. It also had a broad fin tail. He wrote that it hunted anything, except elephants, with its broad tusks.

Clement Hill

While on Lake Nyanza, Hill saw a dingonek as it tried to attack one of the men on the prow of his boat. He describes it as having a dark, roundish head.

Charles William Hobley

Charles claims he saw a dingonek, while the Mara River was in flood, floating on a log. He couldn’t see its tail as it was underwater, but he estimated its length at about 16ft (4m). He describes it as having scales, spots like a leopard and a head like an otter but with no fangs. When they shot it, it fell off the log and vanished into the water. Apart from its supposed length, it is thought to be a Nile monitor lizard.

Brackfontein Ridge Cave Paintings

In Brackfontein Ridge, Gauteng, South Africa are rock paintings that depict a walrus-like dingonek. However, the drawings are too far from the sightings of the dingonek to be anything but arbitrary. These drawings depict a creature with a 12-foot (3.6m) long, squarish head, a long horn and saber-like canines. It is also depicted as having a tail with a bony, dart-like appendage known to secrete a deadly poison.

Dr Bernard Heuvelmans

Bernard Heuvelmans was a Belgian-French scientist, explorer, researcher and writer. He said that the dingonek could be a queer species of a prehistoric crocodile.

Dingonek and its Variations

As mentioned above, there are many types of creatures which are associated with the dingonek. The Lukwata, Ndamathia, Ol-umain/Ol-maima. There is also something called “Kikuyu” said to live in the Tana River and then there’s the “Masai” said to live in the Amala River. It is thought that the dingonek and the ol-umaina are one and the same creature.

Neodinosaur Theory

After meeting with John Jordan, Bronson happened to make the acquaintance of a man by the name of James Martin. James Martin was an animal collector. He told him about a large snake or aquatic animal that was spotted on the shores on Lake Victoria. He met another man, before setting out on his safari. A man named C.W. Hobley who told him about the “lukwata”.

Dingonek to human size comparison

Conclusion

Although there is no actual fossils or physical evidence, the Wa-Ndorobo tribe of the Congo still claim that its a real creature. They describe it as a hybrid between a scorpion and walrus as well as a creature that is covered with spotted reptilian scales, huge tusks and a tail tipped with a venomous barb. This is described in their lore.

They have never found an actual specimen of this mysterious creature. It could even be a prehistoric saurian thought to be extinct—a creature that has simply adapted to its current environment. Another theory postulates that the dingonek could be an unclassified reptile or amphibian. There have been legends of aquatic creatures long before John Alfred Jordan’s encounter in 1907 and could be many more long before John Jordan came on the scene or Bronson wrote about it in 1910.

It is all these writings and eye-witness encounters that make me wonder about the Congo and what could possibly be lurking in the deep of that swamp. Are creatures such as the dingonek, mokele mbembi and the thunder bird real or simply a hoax?

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