Some describe the creature as a gigantic hippopotamus with the horns of a rhinoceros upon its head, others say the irizima is a marsh monster with a hippo's legs, an elephant' trunk, a lizard's head, and an aardvark's tail. The creature seems to have been seen in many places around that area of Africa.
The story goes that Lewanika, King of the Barotse, saw the beast in the marshes of his land, and set a special warrior watch to capture it. 'A monster,' says he in his official report to the British Government, 'with a head like a snake, making a huge track in the reeds as large as a full-sized wagon would make were its wheels removed.'
J.E. Hughes in 1933. wrote in his book “Eighteen Years on Lake Bangweulu” that the Wa-Ushi tribesmen had killed such a creature along the Luapula River, between Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu. It is described as having a smooth body, without bristles, and armed with a single smooth horn fixed like that of a rhinoceros, but composed of smooth white ivory, very highly polished.
In December, 1919, the London Daily Mail published a letter from C.G. James, who had lived in what is now Zambia. He reported that there was an enormous beast with a single ivory horn living in the waters of Lakes Bangweulu and the surrounding lakes and swamps. James said this animal was called "Chipekwe" by the natives. The same creature is also mentioned in both Millais’ 1924 book “Far away up the Nile”