35 best African tattoo ideas: popular styles and meanings

35 best African tattoo ideas: popular styles and meanings

African tattoos are unique because of their connection with the tradition and culture of the people. Some believe African-inspired inkings protect them against spiritual attacks, while others choose them for decorations or style. There are multiple African tattoo ideas to choose from in 2023.

African tattoo ideas
Amazing African tattoo ideas. Photo: @jaybeetattoo, @spiritualjourneytattoo, @danielvalhalus (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Different tribes in the African culture have unique tribal emblems they consider valuable. Some of them are deities, warriors, and shields. Check out amazing African tattoo ideas below.

Amazing African tattoo ideas

Getting a tattoo is an exciting experience for many people. Before settling for a design, you should know its meaning. Below is a collection of African tattoo styles you should consider.

Cute elephants

African tattoo ideas
Amazing elephant inkings. Photo: @angelique_draws, @jaynesermannitattoo (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Elephants make an unforgettable tattoo design when well-planned and properly inked into your body. The meaning of an African elephant tattoo is strength, divinity, loyalty, and good luck.


Did you know human beings tried to domesticate zebras but were unable to? These animals kept fleeing back into the wild. As a result, they symbolise freedom. Zebra inkings are ideal for people who wish to live on their own terms.

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Elephants of Africa

african tattoo styles
Elephant-inspired inkings. Photo: @truealchemytattooing, @ivytattoostudio (modified by author)
Source: UGC

African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are larger than those found in Asia and are identified by their gigantic ears. Inkings of elephants inside the map of Africa are eye-catching. If you are looking for a perfect African chest tattoo, try this design.

African sketch inking

The sketch tattoo style is informal. It is a light drawing which is sometimes diluted with colour. You can have a sketch of a traditional person from your community or an African figure you admire the most.

African scar tattoo

African scar tattoo
Amazing scar inkings. Photo: @babajideolatunji, @hopestiny_glams (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Do you know deep cuts on the cheeks or forehead were carved on children in some communities as a mark of identity? These markings are also a sign of beauty.

African woman tattoo

Africans are associated with rich culture. The African woman is beautiful and strong. She takes pride in her body. If this is how you feel about yourself, why not get an inking depicting this?

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African warrior tattoo designs

African warrior tattoo designs
Fascinating warrior inkings. Photo: @hardcore_ruiz, @mediastintass_tattoo (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Warrior inkings are symbolic of courage, strength, firmness and struggle. They represent the customs and traditions of a particular culture, conveying national pride.

Afrocentric inking

A wooden comb symbolises feminine beauty, love, and care. Lovers of natural hair can rock this inking unapologetically.

Female warrior inkings

african warrior tattoo designs
Amazing female warrior designs. Photo: @elchambo_tattoo, @rachel.tattoos (modified by author)
Source: UGC

It is widely believed that warriors are men. However, this is not true. There are many female warriors who have made significant contributions to their communities.

Lady in locs

If you are looking for African queen tattoo ideas, consider having a queen in locs. Dreadlocks are among the natural hairstyles in many African communities.

Horus god

african tattoo sleeve
Horus god inkings. Photo: @ink.haku, @robertpavlik.tattoo (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Horus is a falcon-headed god and is one of the most commonly used symbols of Egypt. He was the son of Osiris and Isis and the divine child of the holy family triad. He was also the helper of Ra and he symbolised the powers of the Pharaoh in Egyptian history. If you are looking for an African tattoo sleeve, try the Horus-inspired design.

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Beauty in a turban

African women are strong, and they are the epitome of beauty. The traditional African woman is hardworking and dedicated to her family and community.

Fabulous African tribal designs

meaning of an african tattoo
Fabulous inkings. Photo: @spiritualjourneytattoo, @hotrod028 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Tribal tattoos are used in different cultures as marks that show the affiliation of people within a particular society. Traditionally, people belonging to a tribe had a mark implanted in their skin to how they belonged to that particular clan.

Woman and cheetah

A cheetah is a symbol of power, strength, grace, and speed. These animals often depict divine guidance. If you are a powerful, strong, and graceful woman or have a woman in your life with these characteristics, this is the ideal inking for you.


african tattoo styles
Anansi-inspired inkings. Photo: @painted_heart_arts, @gombas007 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Anansi is a spider-like god from West African mythology. He is the god of knowledge and is respected for his ability to defeat powerful opponents through his creativity. Sometimes, Anansi is drawn as a spider with a human face or a human with spider-like features.

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Lioness and her cub

Lion tattoos depict strength, bravery, courage, and fearlessness. A lioness nurtures her cubs and trains them to be strong and fearless.


African tattoo ideas
Anubis-inspired designs. Photo: @danielvalhalus, @darkart.tattoostudio (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Anubis is the ancient Egyptian god of the dead. Anubis is represented by a jackal or the figure of a man with the head of a jackal. Some people choose to adorn their bodies with the symbol of Anubis in remembrance of a loved one's demise.

Lion family

Lions live in prides which are family units made up of between two and 40 lions. If you value family and community, this design is ideal for you.

Zulu Spirit of the Warrior

african scar tattoo
Zulu Spirit of the Warrior inkings. Photo: @john_martin_tattoo, @mike.fd.tattoos (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Zulu is the largest ethnic community in South Africa. People from the Zulu community were known for their military exploits. Other communities feared the Zulu Kingdom. Zulu warriors, therefore, symbolise bravery, courage, and strength.

The African map

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The African continent is rich in natural resources and culture. You can show your love for the continent by inking its map.


meaning of an african tattoo
Shield-inspired designs. Photo: @maxpaintattoo, @nuworldcomics (modified by author)
Source: UGC

A shield is a sign of protection and courage. This design is ideal for people who want to remind themselves that they are strong and have an uplifting spirit.

Tribal mask

In many African communities, masks symbolise unseen, supernatural forces beneficial to communities. If you believe in these forces or want special protection, consider getting a tribal mask. It is prudent to Understand various African tribal tattoo meanings before getting it done because you do not want to attract bad things into your life.

Coloured African tattoos

african tattoo styles
Coloured inking designs. Photo: @jaybeetattoo, @tattoosbyevi (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Many people assume that people of colour cannot have coloured inkings. This notion is wrong. You should consult your tattoo expert to know the colours that work best with your skin tone. Honour your motherland with a coloured inking in 2023.

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What is the meaning of an African tattoo?

The meanings of various African tattoos vary from community to community. You should research the meaning of the one you are interested in before getting inked.

What do African tattoos mean?

African tattoos mean a lot of things. Traditionally, they were used to cure illness, provide protection, show loyalty to a particular tribe, and denote social status.

How do I get a unique tattoo idea?

You can get one by thinking about what is important to you and why you want to get inked. Next, check for inspiration online and design something unique.

What is the most requested tattoo?

The most requested tattoos include dolphins, dragons, butterflies, Celtic symbols, wings, stars, and hearts.

There are many African tattoo ideas to choose from in 2023. An inking is a permanent decision, so think critically before choosing a design.

READ ALSO: 50+ cool anime tattoos for yourself and for couples (matching tat)

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Briefly.co.za recently published cool anime tattoos for individuals and couples. Getting anime inkings is the perfect way of appreciating your best Japanese animation.

There are many anime characters to choose from, depending on your aesthetic and what they speak to you. If you are going for anime inkings, get creative by trying out inspiration from your favourite anime characters.

Source: Briefly News

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