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Adventurer's Beware: Supernatural African Monsters and Locations

Ghost Tours courtesy of Viaggio Routard on Flickr CC BY 2.0

It’s October! Neighbors excited for the Holiday season are beginning the decorating marathon, and Halloween is right around the corner. However, if you’re more excited to brave some of Africa’s most mysterious, spooky or just downright haunted locales, read on:

Africa is not without its own tales of hauntings or spirit sightings. Even just in South Africa alone, there are countless sightings and eerie occurrences in some of the more historic buildings and areas! You can even plan your own private ghost tour excursion, learn about famous African folklore (& monsters), or search for Aliens in the city of Rura, Zimbabwe, where one of the most famous UFO sightings in the world was reported.

Evening UFOS by EBiAFoddoAbbarad on Flickr

The Ghost of Governor van Noodt  at The Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving building still in use in South Africa.

Known as a cruel and punishing governor of the Cape, van Noodt is said to haunt the castle to this day. On one occasion, he sentenced three soldiers to death. Just before they were hanged, one of the soldiers pronounced a curse on him. He was found dead with a look of shock on his face shortly thereafter. No cause of death was ever found.

Want to see for yourself? While the Castle of Good Hope is a great tourist destination during the day (with entrance fees R 50,00 per adult and R 25,00) they also offer a significantly spookier special the “Castle After Dark” tours!

African Monsters Locations cape of good hope
Castle of Good Hope by David Stanley on Flickr

Richly House, Port Elizabeth

The Richly House has been used for many different purposes over the years. Originally built in 1906 it has been home to everything from a nursing home to a brother in WWII. With a history that varied, one can only imagine the types of hauntings vary greatly as well. Reports include a woman with her child in old period clothing, a very grumpy man in a grey coat terrorizing the kitchen, nuns, & chilling cries of unseen infants.

Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape by flowwcomm on Flickr

The most alarming stories however, come from the staff members in the domestic quarters who have on occasion reported a spirit that tried to strangle someone. The Richly House is widely considered to be the most haunted house in Port Elizabeth. Enter if you dare!

The Victoria Hotel, Pretoria South Africa

For the particularly brave: a nights stay at The Victoria Hotel in Pretoria is available for around 30 USD. As long as you don’t mind sharing the locale with Alife, the resident spirit of the Hotel. Alfie is reportedly very mischievous & likes to cause chaos in the kitchen as well as turn taps on & off. People have also reported a grey ghostly woman brushing past them on the staircase at around 22:00.

Photo Courtesy of Trip Advisor

African Ghost Tours

Have an interest in buried treasure, UFOs, myths & legends, hauntings, ghosts & witchcraft? Join any number of unique Ghost Tours on your vacation!

Visit: Mystery Ghost Bus for tons of Halloween appropriate fun offerings: Murder Mystery Dinners, Relic Hunts to the Private Ghost Bus Tours are all a great Halloween addition to the traditional adventures of African travel.

Photo Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Tours happen in cities all over: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth & Johannesburg. Several Public tour specials (as well as some bundled B&B stays) are offered on their website for the month of October to celebrate Halloween like you never have before!

African Monsters Locations ghosts by water

The Flying Dutchman

Though sightings are believed to be a bad omen, you can always travel to the Cape to try to spot the legendary Flying Dutchman, famous in folklore & literary history & most recently of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. You can spend the afternoon traveling to Cape Point, the southernmost tip of Cape Town, now a nature reserve within Table Mountain National Park.

The Flying Dutcman by wsh1266 on Flickr

Legend has it that the Flying Dutchman, captained by Hendrik van der Decken, approached the Cape & the stormy weather the Cape is known for flooded the ship & shredded the sails. Van der Decken refused to turn back & was said to claim that he would round the cape if it took him till Doomsday. Now the Flying Dutchman is famously thought to be doomed to travel the seas forever.

Monsters from African Folklore

Interested in learning about more traditional African Folklore, or maybe you’ve got your trip planned & want to add in some Halloween fun by trying to sight the native creature of your favorite destination? Check out some of the most famous African Legendary Creatures & their country of origin:

Kongamato (Zambia, Angola & Congo) : First described in English in 1932 by Explorer Frank Welland , but the local legend of the Kongamato goes back much further. A featherless flying monster that lives in rivers and swamps.

African Monsters Locations Kongamato

The Impundulu or Lightning Bird (South Africa): A South African mystical bird from Pondo, Zulu, and Xhosa folklore. The Impundulu can summon lightning & storms & is said to be a shape shifter or supernatural guard of a witch or witch doctor. It’s also thought that parts of the Impundulu and its eggs have medicinal powers. But, watch out- they’re also said to suck human blood.

The Adze (Ghana & Togo; Ewe People): Said to take the form of a firefly, unless captured- when it takes human form. The legendary Adze of the Ewe people attacks when in human form, but when it is a firefly, will spread disease by sucking blood while you sleep. Victims of the Adze are said to become witches that are possessed by the Adze’s spirit.

African Monsters Locations firefly

Ninki Nanka (Gambia): A dragon-like creature that lives in the Gambian River that has the body of a crocodile, head of a horse & a long giraffe neck. At 30-50 feet long, search for the Ninki Nanka at your own risk! Maybe just let the Gambian friends you make on your trip tell you the legends they heard growing up!

Groostlang (South Africa): An Afrikaans word meaning “great snake” lives in the Wonder Hole, a cave in the Richtersveld area of South Africa. The legend says that the Gods found the Groostlang (half elephant & half snake) too powerful so they subdivided it into two separate species. It is believed that a few Groostlangs escaped this fate & their descendants can now grow to 60 feet long.

African Monsters Locations 220px-Grootslang

The Ariel School UFO Sighting:

Finally, if the urban legends of Africa aren’t your point of interest, maybe this Halloween you’d like to visit the location of one of the most interesting Alien encounters in history. On Wednesday September 14th in 1994 at around 20:00-21:00 on a clear night a “pyrotechnic display” lit up the sky. It was said to be seen from Zambia to Botswana & Astronomers identified it as a meteor shower. However, two days later, Cynthia Hind, South African MUFON field investigator who wrote an article titled  “UFO flap in Zimbabwe: Case No 95” received several reports of Alien sightings. One in particular caught her attention. Several children from the Ariel School had claimed to see Aliens & she cited it as one of the most “Exciting UFO sightings” in history.

The school itself is in the rural town of Ruwa, Zimbabwe. There are tons of documented recordings & interviews with the dozen children from the school who claimed to have all witnessed the visitors.

African Monsters Locations aliens
African Monsters Locations africa dry seson

October is a great time to travel in Africa for many reasons. With the dry season, many safari destinations experience peak game presence & crowds of adventurers to take advantage. Island safari destinations like the Seychelles, Zanzibar & the Bazaruto Archipelago of Mozambique are incredible this time of year as well.

But, if you’re looking to avoid some of the more packed locales, why not combine your advantageous seasonal travel with a fun October Adventure through some of the more mysterious & spooky locations of Africa.