Fantasy Writing: 9 Unique Mythical Creatures from West Africa To Inspire You

If you’re looking to add some unique mythical creatures to your novel, African mythology has a rich array of fascinating and terrifying creatures that are perfect for adding some excitement and intrigue to your story. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular mythical creatures in the West African Region, as well as some unique ones you can add to your novel.


Ninki Nanka
Mami Wata

Yumboes (Origin: Senegal)

The Yumboes are fairy-like creatures that are believed to be the spirits of departed humans. They are about two feet tall with pearly white skin that glows in the moonlight. They dance and feast in the moonlight and are said to be benevolent towards humans, inviting them to join in their festivities. If a human happens upon their celebration, they may be invited to join in the festivities, but are served food and drink by invisible servants. Though they may seem benevolent, it’s best to be wary of their true intentions.

Ogbanje (Origin: Nigeria)

One of the most intriguing creatures from African mythology is the Ogbanje. This evil spirit is said to plague families with misfortune in a continuous cycle of death and rebirth. But there is a way to break the cycle – by finding the Ogbanje’s secret stone, called Iyi-Uwa, and destroying it. This fascinating creature would make an excellent addition to any novel that deals with themes of family, loss, and the supernatural.

Obayifo (Origin: Ghana)

If you’re looking for a vampire-like creature to include in your story, the Obayifo from Ghana may be just what you need. These creatures are said to inhabit the bodies of any man or woman and have an obsession with food. They emit a phosphorescent light when travelling at night, making them even eerier.

Egbere AKA Bush Baby (Origin: Nigeria)

While zoologists may be familiar with the adorable primate known as the bush baby, legends speak of a much more sinister creature lurking in the forests of Nigeria. The Egbere, or Bush Baby, is a creature that is both fascinating and terrifying. This short, malevolent creature lurks in the forest, carrying a mat wherever it goes and crying incessantly. However, if you can steal the mat of a Bush Baby, legend has it that you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams. What kind of story could you create around this intriguing creature?

Ninki Nanka (West African Region)

For something a little more reptilian, consider the Ninki Nanka. This creature, which lives in the swamps of West Africa, is said to be extremely large and very dangerous. It is known to take children who disobey their parents and venture into the swamp, making it a perfect choice for a cautionary tale.

Mami Wata (Origin: Nigeria & Togo)

Mami Wata is a mysterious creature with conflicting legends surrounding her true nature. While some believe she is benevolent and bestows riches and prosperity upon her followers, others insist she is a flesh-flaying monster. Often depicted as a beautiful woman with a large python wrapped around her body, she is said to lure unsuspecting victims into large water bodies and drown them. How could you incorporate Mami Wata into your own novel and create a unique spin on her tale?

Adze (Origin: Ghana & Togo)

The vampiric Adze takes the form of a firefly and feeds on the blood of the most beautiful children in a tribe. If caught in its firefly form, it will transform into a human. While in this form, it has the power to possess humans. Sucking blood from people as they sleep, the Adze is said to cause sickness and death. How could you turn this creature into a compelling character in your own story?

Obia (Origin: West African Region)

Another creature to consider is the Obia, a monster from West African folklore. This giant animal is sent by witches to kidnap young girls and wear their skin as a coat. With its horrifying appearance and dark origins, the Obia is the perfect creature to add some tension and terror to your novel.

Asanbosam (Origin: Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo)

Finally, there’s the Asanbosam, a vampire-like creature with iron teeth, pink skin, and long red hair. While being humanoid, these creatures have bat-like features and resemble bats well. They also live in trees and attack from above, making them a terrifying addition to any forest setting.

Overall, West African mythology provides a wealth of inspiration for fiction writers. By incorporating these mythical creatures into your writing, you can create a truly unique and captivating story that will keep readers fascinated.


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