" . . .And I looked. Then I let out a shout also and instantly bobbed down under the water, because, coming straight at me only a few feet above the water was a black thing the size of an eagle. I had only a glimpse of its face, yet that was quite sufficient, for its lower jaw hung open and bore a semicircle of pointed white teeth set about their own width apart from each other. When I emerged, it was gone. George was facing the other way blazing off his second barrel. I arrived dripping on my rock and we looked at each other. 'Will it come back?' we chorused. And just before it became too dark to see, it came again, hurtling back down the river, its teeth chattering, the air 'shss-shssing' as it was cleft by the great, black, dracula-like wings. We were both off-guard, my gun was unloaded, and the brute made straight for George. He ducked. The animal soared over him and was at once swallowed up in the night."
Ivan T. Sanderson, 1932
In 1932-33 the Percy Sladen Expedition journeyed to West Africa in the employment of the British Museum. In charge of the team was Ivan T. Sanderson, a well-known zoologist and writer. While in the Assumbo Mountains in the Cameroons, they made camp in a wooded valley near a steep banked river. One evening, as the team was hunting near the river, Sanderson shot and killed a large fruit-eating bat, and when the animal fell into the water, Sanderson carefully began to make his way over to it in the fast moving current. As he himself writes, he accidentally lost his balance and fell. When regaining his balance, his companion suddenly shouted in horror "Look out!" It was at this time that the aforementioned written occurrence took place, and was a day that Ivan T. Sanderson never forgot.
He and George, when returning to camp, immediately asked the natives about the creature. Sanderson asked them, spreading his arms in bird-like fashion, "What kind of bat is this large and is all black?" "Olitiau!" was the response. The natives questioned the two where they had seen the creature. Sanderson pointed back at the river, and upon doing so, the natives reportedly fled in terror in the opposite direction, taking only their guns and leaving their valuables behind.
The year was 1923, almost 10 years before the Percy Sladen Expedition. A traveler by the name of Frank H. Melland was working for a time in Zambia, gathering native reports of mysterious ferocious flying reptiles often talked about among the villages. The natives called the creature "Kongamato" (meaning "overwhelmer of boats"), which was said to live in the Jiundu swamps in the Mwinilunga District in western Zambia, near the border of Congo and Angola. It was described as having no feathers at all, smooth skin, a wingspan between 4 ft. and 7 ft., and possessing a beak full of teeth. They were commonly described as black or red. Amazingly, it had a reputation for capsizing canoes, causing death to anyone who merely looked at it. Mr Melland, when showing drawings of Pterosaurs to the people, writes:
"... every native present immediately and unhesitatingly picked it out and identified it as a kongamato. Among the natives who did so was a headman from the Jiundu country, where the kongamato is supposed to be active, and who is a rather wild and quite unsophisticated native."
In "The Age of Dinosaurs" there existed flying reptiles called Pterosaurs. Nearly all fossils of these creatures have been discovered in marine deposits, strongly suggesting they were fish eaters who spent most of their time over coastal waters. Is it possible for these famed creatures of our history books to be still alive today? Are the evidences of their existence simply fanciful tales? We leave these questions for the reader to answer.
Though there have been various, specific names given to the strange flying reptiles reported around the world, the term "Kongamato" will be used during this analysis for simplicity's sake.
Sightings of the Kongamato come primarily from the continent of Africa, as do the reports of most other land cryptids. From Zambia to Kenya, Zimbabwe to New Guinea, the Kongamato is increasingly becoming a creature of reality, and no longer myth.
In 1925, a distinguished English newspaper correspondent, G. Ward Price, along with the future Duke of Windsor, took an official visit to Rhodesia. While there, they reported a story that a civil servant told them of the wounding of a man who entered a feared swamp in Rhodesia; a place known to be an abode of "demons." According to the story, the brave native entered the swamp, determined to explore it in spite of the dangers. When returning, they found him on the verge of death. With a great wound in his chest, the native recounted how a strange, huge "bird" with a long beak attacked him. The civil servant, wanting to identify the creature, showed the man a picture of a Pterosaur from a book of prehistoric animals. When observing the drawing, the man screamed in terror, fleeing from the servant's home.
Reports such as this fascinate some, and bore others. Unfortunately, photographic evidence of Kongamatos scarcely exist, leading many to scoff at the idea.
One interesting aspect of the Kongamato is its reported ability to glow at night. Though not an actual "ability," but more of a natural phenomenon pertaining to bioluminescence, the Kongamato continues to grow as a fascinating creature unlike anything else.
A college student from Kenya, surprised over the fact that Americans believed Pterosaurs to have existed millions of years ago, told Dr. Kent Hovind over the phone one evening of the flying reptiles of his native land. In detail, he explained to Mr. Hovind their natural habits. They consider them pests, similar to buzzards. A common problem they have, explained the student, is making sure to bury their dead deep enough. Interestingly, the Kongamatos will unearth buried natives and feed upon their dead flesh.
Reports of prehistoric flying creatures are not just limited to dense swampy regions, however. There are also reports of giant flying lizards from the deserts of Namibia. In 1988, Professor Roy Mackal led an expedition to Namibia where reports of a creature with a wingspan of up to 30 ft were collected. According to eye witnesses, the avian cryptid usually glided through the air, but also was capable of true flight. It was usually seen at dusk, gliding between crevices between two hills about a mile apart. Although the expedition was unsuccessful in collecting solid evidence, one team member, James Kosi, reportedly saw the creature from about 1000 ft. away. He described it as a giant glider shape, black with white markings.
In an attempt to explain these "false phenomenas," scientists have searched for animals in Africa that could be mistaken for a Pterosaur. The shoebill stork, shown right, could perhaps be mistaken for one while flying in the sky during a shadowy evening. Of course, this stork doesn't possess a long beak, teeth, or would ever be one to attack a human being . . . as the Kongamato reportedly does. To endeavor to explain what countless people have seen and heard is useless. Either the natives, various explorers and zoologists were and are all liars, or they tell the truth. There is no in between.
The Kangamato, a creature that has been reportedly seen in tropical Africa, the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, Andean South America, and tropical New Guinea, is a cryptid that has much to prove of itself. Eye witness reports say a great deal, though not enough. Of all dinosaurs, the Pterosaur would seem to be one of the most likely to survive. Therefore, from a logical and scientific standpoint, its current existence is not an impossibility. Time is the proponent. If Pterosaurs really do still exist today, it will only be a matter of time until we find them.