Name of a legendary pterodactyl-like creature which supposedly inhabits the Jiundu swamps in the Mwinilunga District in western Zambia, near the border of Congo and Angola.
The Kongamato ("breaker of boats" or "overwhelmer of boats") is described as having a wingspan between 4 ft. and 7 ft., smooth skin instead of feathers, a beak full of teeth, and being either black or red colored, which brings it to a close resemblance to the pterosaur.
In fact, local natives that were shown pictures of the pterodactyl, immediately identified it as the Kongamato.
Early 20th century traveler and writer Frank Melland, while working for the British colonial service in Northern Rhodesia (today's Zambia), heard of a flying creature that lived along some of the region's rivers. He wrote about it in his 1923 book In Witchbound Africa:
"Further enquiries disclosed the “facts” that the wing-spread was from 4 to 7 feet across, that the general color was red. It was believed to have no feathers but only skin on its body, and was believed to have teeth in its beak: these last two points no one could be sure of, as no one ever saw a kongamato close and lived to tell the tale. I sent for two books which I had at my house, containing pictures of pterodactyls, and every native present immediately and unhesitatingly picked it out and identified it as a kongamato. Among the natives who did so was a headman (Kanyinga) from the Jiundu country,where the kongamato is supposed to be active. . . .
The natives assert that this flying reptile still exists, and whether this be so or not it seems to me that there is presumptive evidence that it has existed within the memory of man, within comparatively recent days. Whether it is scientifically possible that a reptile that existed in the mesozoic age could exist in the climatic conditions of to-day I have not the necessary knowledge to decide."
"When in Northern Rhodesia I heard of a mythical beast, alleged to have a similar death-dealing attribute,which intrigued me considerably. It was said to haunt formerly, and perhaps still to haunt, a dense, swampy forest region in the neighborhood of the Angola and Congo borders. To look upon it too is death. But the most amazing feature of this mystery beast is its suggested identity with a creature bat- and birdlike in form on a gigantic scale strangely reminiscent of the prehistoric pterodactyl. Where the devil does the primitive African derive such a fanciful idea?"
In the 1947 book Witchcraft and Magic in Africa, Frederick Kaigh mentions a region on the “Rhodesian-Congo border near the north-eastern border of the Jiundu Swamp, a foetid, eerie place in which the pterodactyl is locally supposed to survive with spiritual powers of great evil."
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