The inkanyamba is a river monster from Zulu and Xhosa folklore, similar to many lake monsters reported around the world.
These creatures have long necks, horse- or antelope-like heads, and a crest or spine running along their backs. They also have either large flippers or a pair of wings. A few sources describe them as invisible or horned.
While there is no clear size for these creatures, they are said to be huge. One sighting claims that it reared its neck was at least nine meters long.
Modern interpretations of the beasts claim that they are most likely exaggerated eels. Popular candidates include Anguilla mossambica or Anguilla marmorata, both of which are fairly large with fins running along their bodies. However, others claim that it is more likely to be a snake, as it is commonly described as rearing out of the water.
Inkanyamba are notorious for their vicious, carnivorous nature; their diets include cattle, goats, and even humans. They have been observed fighting with one another in the water numerous times, presumably over territory. Some people even refuse to say its name for fear of calling it to wreak havoc.
These creatures are thought to have domain over the weather, at least to an extent. They are migratory, so during the summer they will fly over the land, causing huge storms and hail. They may also cause these storms if they're angered or if their rivers have dried up. Another common interpretation is that the male inkanyamba will take off in search of a mate, resulting in a tornado. While they are not initially large enough to do this, they grow as they leave the water, then shrink again as they enter it. People believe that the creatures will mistake blue or reflective rooftops for water and attempt to dive into them, so they sometimes paint their roofs dark colours to avoid attracting attention.
In order to keep the inkanyamba away from towns, people may sacrifice goats or chickens to it, but this is uncommon.
Archaeologists have discovered cave paintings that resemble the Inkanyamba, depicted with horns, crests along their backs, and water spewing from their mouths. These have been dubbed "rain animals" due to their associations with thunderstorms.
While it is generally accepted that inkanyamba is a species, not the name of an individual creature, a particularly large one named kwaNogqaza (The Tall One) lives under Howick Falls, along with most of its kind. However, these creatures have been sighted as much as 40 miles away, often cited as proof of their migratory nature.