The Kaaiman (Dutch for caiman) is an aquatic hybrid cryptid that supposedly lives in South Africa.
The Kaaiman is described as a half human, half fish creature which lives in deep pools. It is white and has long black hair and red eyes.
Some people hold the Kaaiman responsible for drownings.
According to legend, the last sighting of the Kaaiman was about 15 years ago, with it previously being spotted more than 20 years before that.
In january 2008, a group of friends enjoying a braai on the banks of the Buffelsjags River at Suurbraak, a village close to Swellendam in the Western Cape, have reported spotting the legendary mermaid-like creature.
Suurbraak resident Daniel Cupido said he and a group of friends were relaxing next to the river last weekend when, at about 11.30pm, he heard something which sounded like someone “bashing on a wall.”
Cupido walked toward the sound. At a nearby low water bridge, he said he saw a figure, “like that of a white woman with long black hair thrashing about in the water.”
Thinking to save her, he waded toward her, but said he stopped in his tracks when he noticed a reddish shine in her eyes. The sight sent “shivers” down his spine, yet he was pulled forward as if hypnotised.
He called for his child, Deidrian, 13, and his nephew, Werner Plaatjies, 11, to help him, breaking his trance. He then shouted to his friends to take a look as well. Martin Olckers said he saw a female figure swimming, first on one side of the low water bridge, then on the other, and then standing on the bridge before diving back into the black water.
He said the figure made “the strangest sound”, like a woman crying. His mother, Dina, said the figure sounded so sorrowful “my heart could take it no more”. Her husband Martinus said their parents had warned them about the Kaaiman, but they never believed it existed.
Suurbraak tourism officer Maggy Jantjies said she knew the people who saw the Kaaiman well, and that they did not misuse alcohol.
- Aldo Pekeur, “Sighting of legendary river mermaid in Western Cape,” Herald, West Cape News, South Africa, January 15, 2008.