From the tentacle tree, with a taste for human cuisine, to the dragons of the West African swamps. This is a list of 10 creepy African Folktales, that will make you want to keep the lights on at night.

Man Eating Tentacle Tree

Dr. Omelius Fredlowski, read an unusual letter sent to him by a colleague of his. A German explorer named Carl Liche. Liche claimed that he went to visit Madagascar, and was shown something by the locals he couldn’t believe. He lived with a tribe called the Mkodos, who he was researching at the time. The tribe members decided to show him a tree they had named “Tepe”. It was the most unusual tree he had ever seen. With branches, like tentacles.

The tribe members pushed a woman towards the trunk of the tree. The woman began to climb it, even knowing what would happen to her. She climbed all the way to the top, where an unknown liquid was leaking out of it. After she drank the liquid, the tentacles came to life. They blocked Liche’s view of the woman, and all he could hear were the sounds of her agony. Even after her screams died out, the tendrils were still blocking his view. They were like that for days, until finally, on the 10th day, the tree had returned to its prior state. The only difference was the white skull at its base.


Experienced hunters in Central Zaire, are careful walking through the densest parts of the jungles. That’s because Biloko, small, sharp-clawed creatures, live there. They hide inside hollow trees, and attack anyone who comes near them. Their hair is like grass, making them hard to spot, and good at sneaking. They have large mouths, which makes it easier to eat people larger than them. But, what’s more terrifying than claws or teeth, is the bell they were around their neck. Explorers hear the bell ringing, and then fall under its spell, making them susceptible to the Biloko’s attack. Once you hear the ringing, it’s too late.

Underneath The Castle of Good Hope

The castle was built in Cape Town, South Africa, by the Dutch in 1679. The star shaped fortress bustled with activity. Inside there was even a church, and some shops. Under the surface is a dungeon, where captives would be held, and tortured. The souls of the dead are said to still be wandering the premises. People have claimed to have seen these souls manifested in the forms of ghosts. One appearing as a lady dressed in grey clothes, and another apparition appearing without any legs. The underground dungeon in particular, was said to have an evil presence, and guards refused to go near it at night.


horse-3602768_640 Biloko
The Inkanyamba is a giant serpent that lives in the northern forests, near Pierermaritzburg, the capital of Kwazulu-Natal. It has the body of a giant snake, but its head bears a closer resemblance to a horse. This creature is not only famous for its innate strangeness, but also because its emotions can influence the weather. It’s said that the creature getting angry, is what causes the seasonal storms. This causes it to have a direct effect on the humans ability to survive. Giant eels that can grow to six feet in size have been verified in the area. It’s possible that stories of these eels were exaggerate, to form the creepy African folktales spread of this creature.


A Tikoloshe is a small, but evil creature from the Zulu mythos. They have a similar appearance to humans, but are shorter, and hairier. These creatures have an array of dangerous abilities. They have the ability to cause you to feel afraid, or angry, but their most dangerous skill is the ability to invoke illness or even death in their victims. If a Tikoloshe eats a pebble, than they can even turn invisible. Only a shaman, has the ability to control these, small, yet savage creatures. Shaman are humans with magical powers, who may use the Tikoloshe as weapons against those who have gotten on their bad side.


crocodile-2434838_640 african folktales
In Liberia African folktales speak of a large, impossibly large, 30 ft crocodile. A reptilian the size of a dinosaur, which has somehow managed to remain mostly hidden. It lives in rivers in the densest rainforests of Liberia. It’s coated in an exo-skeleton which acts as armour for the monster. The armour is lined with three rows of serrations. It would truly be a monster among monsters, and wouldn’t be out of place among the dinosaurs, if it existed. There are claims that some people who have wandered too far into its territory have become victims of the large beast. Although there’s no proof of this actually happening. Some people believe it may be out there, but most likely it only exists within African Folktales.

The Bondo Mystery Ape That Turned Out To Be Real

Ufiti; a ghost ape from Malawi. It’s a cross between a chimpanzee, and a gorilla. Chimps don’t live in this area, and so the claim was hard to believe. Because of that fact, this ape was believed to only exist within African folktales. African folktales which describe similar apes all over Africa. After a lot of research, and some interesting skulls found outside the village of Bili, the existence of this ape was proven. Which is now called, the Bili Ape.


Adze is the African equivalent of a vampire. It normally takes the form of a firefly, but when captured can transform into a human. The creature has different abilities depending on what form it’s in. For instance, in firefly form it would slip through closed doors at night, and suck the blood of humans as they sleep.Those humans would either fall ill or die. There is no way of killing it in this form, however, it is possible to capture one. The danger here is that when it’s been captured it can transform into a human. While in human form it can possess humans, turning them into witches.


Grootslang means “Great Snake”. It’s a giant creature with the body of a snake, and the head of an elephant. According to African Folktales the gods considered the Grootslang to be too powerful, and so they divided it into two animals, the snake, and the elephant. The Grootsland that exist today managed to elude the gods, and escape their fate. Grootslang live in caves, and guard treasure. People often think they’re similar to dragons, in that respect. In 1917, a businessman from England, Peter Grayson, went looking for the monster. But, some animals attacked members of his crew, and Grayson disappeared.

The Ninki Nanka


The Ninki Nanka is a legendary creature from African Folktales. It has a reptilian like appearance, which is reminiscent of dragons. An extremely large, and deadly animal, which ranges from 20 ft to 50 ft long. It lives in the swamps of West Africa. When children grow too bold, and think they can disobey their parents, and enter the swamp, they become victims of the Ninki Nanka. If you happen to see the Ninki Nanka, some say that if even if you survive the encounter, you’ll die only a few weeks later.

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