African Dragon Expedition

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 15th, 2007

Gambia Logo

Major New Film On Dragon Hunters Released



A team of British cryptozoologists from the Centre for Fortean Zoology have released a film, documenting their expedition into the swamps and jungles of West Africa, in search of a dangerous dragon-like monster known as the Ninki-Nanka.

The six person team visited the Gambia and Senegal last summer, to investigate the legend of a monster so awful, locals believe that to look upon it is death. The Ninki-Nanka is said to resemble a gigantic crested serpent and provokes terror in the locals even to this day.

“One man was so frightened of the monster he refused to enter a swamp where, years before, a sighting of the beast had caused a whole village to be abandoned. We had to speak to him from behind a bush, where he was hiding in terror,” said Richard Freeman, Zoological Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology.

The team spoke to many people who claimed their relatives or friends had seen the dragon, and had subsequently died. One man, who claimed to have seen the beast himself, described it as a monstrously huge snake with a horse-like head, and a crest. He believed that only a herbal potion from a holy man saved him from the Ninki-Nankas’ curse. When shown pictures of an Apatosaurus, a Komodo dragon, a Nile monitor lizard, and a Chinese dragon, he chose the Chinese dragon as being most like what he saw.

The beast was also blamed for causing a lorry to crash, as it slithered out on to a rural road. The team visited the crash site, where the lorry is still on the side of the road.They spoke with keepers at a sacred crocodile pool, who recount an ancient song to keep the monster at bay, and were even given a supposed Ninki-Nanka scale for examination.

The team also investigated two other unrelated mysteries; a supposed sea serpent carcass – buried on a beach by an amateur naturalist – and the continued existence of a tiny lizard known only from five museum specimens.

Just as tangled as the African forests, are the jungles of the mind, where legend, and superstition, are entwined with natural history. The film goes some way towards exploring both of these shadowy places.

The music for the film was composed especially by Paul Whitrow, a Bristol-based record producer from the legendary Bristol recording studio, Channel House, best-known for his work with Portishead, John Getty, The Mission, Alison Moyet, Imogen Heap, and cult indie band, the Blue Aeroplanes, as well as Japanese production company Creativeman.

The film can be seen – for free – on the CFZtv site, together with the team’s other documentary films.Centre for Fortean Zoology

Loren and John both wrote of this expedition here on Cryptomundo last year.


In Search of African Dragons

British Explorers Seek Ninki-Nanka and Gambo

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

10 Responses to “African Dragon Expedition”

  1. fuzzy responds:

    Certainly more intriguing than playing with paper dolls!

  2. Bob Michaels responds:

    I was aware of this expedition and was patiently waiting for the findings.thanks for alerting our cryptid communtiy.

  3. lerxst responds:

    This film is obviously a hoax. Could they shake the camera any more?

  4. UKCryptid responds:

    Well, interesting enough I guess. The narration was too quiet in many places, the song made me laugh (I’m sorry, just did) and the other thing that made me laugh was when it was said ‘and the rest of the team started digging’, I saw one person digging, and another slightly more lazy person seemingly spooning sand off the edge of where the real digging was taking place, lol. As for any science derived from this, well there is none. A good amount of witness accounts but far too many on the superstitious side to make me take them seriously. A nice little documentary as far as entertainment value goes I suppose but nothing else.

  5. sschaper responds:

    I don’t like the leading of witnesses.

    On the other hand, they have a healthy skepticism, and interest in regular zoology. Those are good (and refreshing) signs.

    They could use people used to the bush, and a better camera or cameraman. And support, or teaming with other researchers.

    The constant theramin is annoying after a while.

    The stories sound like that of the basilisk.

  6. Bob Michaels responds:

    An article will be published in the magazine Fortean Times. So for all you Cryptid doubters out there, be patient, the Ninki Nanka mystery will be solved in the very near future by patience and persistence.

  7. fuzzy responds:

    It will??

  8. Vigus responds:

    Why didn’t they examine the “scale” under a microscope?

    Even though I hate most reality shows, I think if there were a couple decent sponsors, professional equipment, more money, and a slightly larger crew, this would make for a great adventure show. Small group of explorers/adventurers traveling the jungles and little known places. Then they examine the collected evidence ala CSI. Come on Discovery Channel…

  9. Saribou responds:

    I think the logo was a lot cooler than the film, as a whole.

    I see the effort these people went through, but their actions were kinda flawed, and seemed like a group of wacky vacationers. It was kinda like a Fortean Scooby Doo.

    I want to know where on a beach full of sand they would know the *exact* place to dig? Their conclusion was flawed that it was not there… a few feet to the right could have been something amazing… but oh what a pain it would be to find it. I think you would need GPS or something.

  10. greatanarch responds:

    Not our finest hour perhaps. Take a look at the film of the 2005 Mongolian Deathworm Expedition on the same CFZtv site: a better film of a more scientifically productive expedition.

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