10 Interesting African Tattoo Ideas and Their Meanings

african tattoo ideas

Africa is considered to be the cradle of mankind and has some of the most beautiful tattoo designs you could ever find. A lot of them incorporate symbols from African tribal art, showcasing the beauty, wildlife, and majesty of African culture.

African tattoos are known for having raw designs that project humanity, peace, and a deep connection to nature. Getting an African tattoo is even considered to help you feel more connected to the planet. Here are some African tattoo ideas from tribal art to ferocious savannah beasts and intense landscapes.

#1. African Moon and Fairy Tattoo Design


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The moon and fairy tattoo design is simple but elegant. It can mean many things but is typically used to represent the goddess of the moon or angel of the moon. There have been numerous interpretations of the moon’s celestial qualities in African tribal art.

To most Africans, the moon is a feminine symbol. It symbolizes grace, purity, and nourishment. In African culture, the moon is connected with life itself because human and agricultural fertility has a pattern of aligning with lunar cycles. Some cultures associate the crescent moon with masculinity or male virility.

#2. Powerful Tribal Elephant Africa Tattoo


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The lion may be the king of the jungle but elephants are the mightiest. In Africa, elephants are regarded as the wisest chiefs, full of power and wisdom. Africans have been taming elephants for use in massive construction projects, transportation, and even war for centuries.

Elephants are highly intelligent, versatile, and playful creatures despite their size. Did you know they can also paint pictures of themselves?

Elephants are tough on the outside, soft on the inside. They can be more ferocious than any land animal on the planet when provoked but balance it with a gentler side.

#3. African American Snake and Flower Tattoo Design


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Africa has a reputation for housing some of the most venomous snakes on the planet as well as the most beautiful flowers. Notice how the two contrast each other. Snakes are the most unpleasant and arguably the most threatening wild animals you can encounter. Flowers, on the other hand, are pleasant to smell, touch, and completely harmless.

This simple contrast represents Africa to a certain degree. On one hand, it’s been blessed the most by nature in terms of resources. However, the generous endowment has often also been Africa’s greatest curse because of the conflict it tends to create.

#4. Sankofa Tattoo


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The Sankofa is a sacred metaphorical symbol that depicts a bird turning its head backward and holding an egg. It has been used by the Akan Twi and Fante-speaking tribes of Ghana for centuries and holds a deep significance in their history and culture.

The bird turning its back to collect a precious egg signifies the importance of using lessons learned in the past to improve the present and future. That is, never repeating past mistakes and always keeping pushing forward. The word “Sankofa” translates to “retrieve” in English. It’s a tattoo design with a timeless message and a beautiful aesthetic.

#5. African Tribal Tattoo


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There are a number of different designs when it comes to tribal tattoos using patterns and symbols that reflect the African tribal style of painting. The meaning of the tattoo varies depending on the design and color of the tattoo. Some tattoo designs are derived from cultures that wore certain symbols to protect themselves from different kinds of harm in life.

If you want to get a tattoo for aesthetic reasons, African tribal tattoos offer some of the best picks. African tribes believe that their tattoos are connected to a mysterious power. The tattoos served as a kind of protective charm. Some tribes wear them as a mark of pride, identity, and oneness with Africa.

#6. African Continent Tattoo


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Africa is a vast continent with tremendous geographical diversity. It houses almost every kind of biome on the planet from snowy mountains to tropical rainforests and thousands of miles of plain desert as far as the eye can see. It is known throughout the world for presenting tourists with the most breathtaking landscapes.

Africa is where farming and early human civilization began, and getting an African continent tattoo expresses oneness with your ancestors and humanity. There are many cool concepts for you to check out if you don’t just want to get a plain outline of the continent.

#7. African Lion Tattoo


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If you have the wherewithal, patience, and tolerance for pain, get the most detailed lion tattoo design. There’s not much to say about what the African lion projects. It’s the king of the jungle, the peak of dominance in a highly competitive ecosystem.

Being so close to the savannah, it’s not uncommon for Africans to observe lions. Lions have been a recurring subject in multiple forms of African tribal art and tattoos for centuries. They symbolize bravery, strength, and wisdom.

#8. African Goddess Tattoo


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African goddess tattoos have a powerful, captivating, and enigmatic feel to them. The designs are based heavily on tribal depictions of African gods and goddesses like Oshun, Oya, Ala, or Yemaya.

If you’re interested in mythology, an African goddess tattoo would be the perfect choice for you. These tattoos give a whole new connotation to the term “empowerment.”

#9. Full Body Colorful Art Tattoo


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If ink and Africa are your life, might as well express yourself fully. Just remember, this is not reversible and will cover your body forever, so don’t make this decision lightly. Full body tattoos are expensive, time-consuming, and almost impossible to completely remove.

But if the design justifies your feelings and you’re passionate about it, then getting a full-body colorful art tattoo would be the perfect expression of yourself.

#10. Tribal Bird Tattoo


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Africa’s aviary diversity is second only to Australia and not by a stretch. This shouldn’t be very surprising though as Africa is the second largest continent on the planet and the cradle for most of the biodiversity in the world today.

Some of the most famous African birds include vultures, ostriches, parrots, hornbills, and African fish eagles. Not only are African birds stunning to look at, they also portray calmness, serenity, and freedom.

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