Mokèlé-mbèmbé is the name given to a creature believed to inhabit the upper reaches of the Congo River basin, i.e. Congo, Zambia and Cameroon, as well as in Lake Tele (in the Republic of Congo) and its surrounding regions.
This name originates from the Lingala language, and is commonly translated to mean ‘one who stops the flow of rivers’, said to be a reference to the creature’s supposed preference for nestling in the bends of rivers. Mokèlé-mbèmbé is also said to be the word for ‘rainbow’, as well as ‘mystery’, according to Paul Ohlin, a missionary who has spent more than a decade living with the Bayaka pygmies of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Description of the Creature
Over the years, numerous physical descriptions regarding the Mokèlé-mbèmbé have been provided. The various accounts generally agree that the creature is enormous in size, and has a long neck with a small head, as well as a long tail.
In some accounts, the Mokèlé-mbèmbé is also said to be an herbivorous creature that lived in caves by the river, where it could find its favorite food – a certain type of liana. Despite its vegetarian diet, it is thought that the Mokèlé-mbèmbé would act aggressively if approached by people. In one account, it is said that the beast has a single horn, perhaps like a rhinoceros, with which it would use to kill elephants. There are even claims that the Mokèlé-mbèmbé is a spiritual, rather than a physical being.
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