Grootslang: The Half-Elephant Half-Serpent Beast of the Richtersveld

According to South African legend, the gods once created a very cunning species of creature known as the Grootslang (Dutch and Afrikaans for ‘big snake’). These beasts, as old as the world itself, measured over 12 metres long with a snake body and elephant head. However, the gods soon realized that these creatures were too powerful and decided to split the monsters into two separate animals that we are all familiar with today: the first elephants and the first snakes.  Nevertheless, one of the Grootslang escaped to a deep cave in Richtersveld, a rocky, mountainous wasteland in the northwest corner of South Africa. It is from this cave that all future Grootslang were spawned.

Deep beneath the Richtersveld, the Grootslang is said to guard a cave housing a stash of priceless diamonds. This massive cave system is referred to by locals as ‘the bottomless pit,’ and despite the legends of treasures hidden inside, the labyrinthine cavern system has still not been excavated to this day, with many fearing the spine-chilling guardian that lurks within. The Grootslang is said to have diamond eyes as well as a lust for diamonds. Although the monster is known for its brutality and inhumanity, local legend states that one can bargain for his or her life by providing enough precious jewels to whet the monster’s appetite.

In 1917, English businessman Peter Grayson, lured by the temptation of diamonds in the bottomless pit, set out on an expedition to the Richtersveld. After members of his team were either killed or forced to abandon the journey after being attacked by lions, bitten by venomous snakes, and beset by illness, Grayson continued on the journey alone. However, he was never heard from again, prompting many to believe that he had been devoured by the Grootslang.

By Tre Hunt

(Image: Wikimedia)

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