I managed to get hold of Mr. Ken Johnson and he was kind enough to let me go visit him on his farm and show me where he had made the discovery.
I arrived on his picturesque farm in the heart of the Winelands, he welcomed me with not a small bit of suspicion, though he seemed to relax when it became clear I was not interested in the treasure as much as where it was found and what the “bush pig’s den” looked like. He drove me to the South West corner of his plot where there was a small mound with an old oak tree laying down the one side. There was a trench dug all the way into the centre from the base. The soil had collapsed in the centre revealing the walls of what used to be rounded cavity about 6 feet across.
Ken explained that the oak tree used to sit at the top of the mound but was pulled over when excavation required that they dig underneath it. I asked him how they had made the discovery and this is what he said.
” I had been having problems with bush pigs, they can ruin crops if left unchecked. I thought I had finally discovered their den. There was a hole at the base of the mound and my men and I started digging it out. We were startled to see how large the tunnel was and it plunged straight down into water which was unusual. It wasn’t long before I realised it could not be a bush pig’s den, we would have given up but we started to find coins, lot’s of coins and other small objects like cutlery and beer bottles. After about 3 hours of digging we came across something staggering. It was a huge mound consisting of coins, rubbish as well as some valuable antiques. I then called the authorities, I figured it was some sort of robbers stash.”
No one came to claim the treasure and there hasn’t been any report of the objects being stolen so the the find has remained with Ken. The odd collection of objects made no sense to the authorities. Most of the coins were pocket change with the exception of some Kruger Rands and some rare coins which had great value to collectors. Mixed in with the coins were CD’s, a Disco ball, a bicycle tyre, a golf club, kitchen knives, silver cutlery, cellular phones, car keys, jewellery, antique silverware and even a teddy bear. The only connection that they were able to make between the mish-mash of objects is that they are all shiny, like items you would find in a raven’s nest. Something else interesting that Ken mentioned was that there was a strange smell like sulphur in the air inside the cavity.
I believe that Ken had a dragon on his property! I have done my best to portray the den as I believe it was before it was destroyed. I don’t know what kind of dragon it is so I took some artistic licence. Despite my enthusiasm Ken wasn’t so convinced, however I am thankful for his willingness to let me see and explore the site and I appreciate his help in piecing together what it looked like.
Well, it’s the new year and I have had an exciting adventure that has kept me busy all month! It started when I stumbled upon this article, and realised what an incredibly rare opportunity I had been presented with. I suspected that what had in fact been discovered was a dragon’s hoard! So I set out to see if I could get a look at the actual site.
It was a hot summers weekend and as had become the norm for a Saturday I headed to the Black River to rack up search time. I figured seeing as I’m the only one looking for this dragon I’m likely to to be the only one to find it. There are a few places you can pull off the highway to gain access to the river bank, so off I went. I walked along my usual route, starting where the river is broad and grass banked, I walked all the way up until the banks become more heavily lined with reeds and getting to the waters edge is very difficult. When I reached the end of where one can walk, a little bit further up river there is a large pipe that juts out almost to the middle of the river. The favourite perch of many a bird, cormorants, ibis’s , egrets and geese. That pipe and a couple birds had been my last view before I would turn around to walk back to my car for the last 3 months. My resolve and enthusiasm for the dragon search had begun to die out. However this time was different, this time I saw it, the Dragon sitting there, right on the end of the pipe in plain sight, wings spread spectacularly, sunning itself, completely unaware or unconcerned by my presence. I don’t know how long I watched it , time seemed to stand still, every detail burned into my brain. I was transfixed. Birds where around it completely unperturbed, apparently they aren’t on the menu.
My viewing ended almost as suddenly as it begun, I don’t know if it was because it noticed me or because it had just had it’s fill of sunbathing but it stretched briefly, gave a couple powerful wing beats and dove off the pipe. It glided just above the surface of the water for about 20 meters. I was able to see that it had four legs, quite crocodilian looking as well as the two great wings which I could now see were clearly usable for flight as well as swimming. At the end of that glide it quickly folded it’s wings and almost without a splash dived into the water. The last I saw of it was a flick of its powerful tail and it was gone. I waited for over an hour but it didn’t resurface. This image depicts what I saw, I foolishly didn’t have my camera on me and even if I had I would no more have had the presence of mind to use it as one who witnesses a car accident has the mind to photograph it as it’s happening.Many things are better off only seen with the eye than through a lens. I expected that I would soon be reading news articles about this sight as couldn’t imagine I was the only one to see it but, there has been nothing. I really do seem to have been the only witness.
I would tentatively call this dragon a River Dragon or a Fresh water Dragon. I don’t know if I will ever see it again, But this sighting has raised so many questions. Do other Water dragons have wings too? That would certainly allow them to move from lake to lake or river to river with relative ease. Where do they sleep? Do they have caves? Perhaps I should look for hidden entrances along the river bank? Those questions will have to be answered another time.
I’m exhausted. I hope you enjoyed this post, Keep an eye out for dragons, you may actually see one!
About a year ago I came across this newspaper article. It was the first time I had ever heard of a “River monster” in
South Africa, at least recently. And definitely the first I had heard of in Cape Town.
I frequently drive by (and over) the Black River so the notion of some creature living hidden beneath it’s waters scared and intrigued me. The description did seem very “dragonish” and my heart thrilled at the thought that I might get to see one. Apparently not long after this article sightings stopped. Dragons are incredibly secretive and it’s likely that it was getting more attention than it desired.
The article was printed in 2006 so it had been many a year since the sightings had stopped, and from my discussions
with many other locals it seems that no one even remembered the article and were completely unaware that a dragon could potentially be living right beneath our noses!
I then resolved to begin looking out actively for any sign of a dragon. From the descriptions given in the article and the artistic impressions I at least had an idea of what to look for. It intrigued me that the description of the dragon seemed quite similar to other famous water dwelling beasties like “Champ” or the “Ogopogo” ,Water horses, Kelpies and even Nessie. How many of this kind of dragon were there? Were they the same species? The Black River Dragon, as I’m inclined to name it, lives in a river. Would he look different to a lake dwelling dragon? I had so many questions. I never could have imagined what my efforts would yield.