it turns out that most people who have visited the kruger national park in the last 2 years have seen this cross & heard the story……

apparently this young guy ‘charlie’, 20 years old, had just qualified to become a ranger. he was out on one of his first excursions with a group of europeans when for what ever reason he decided to stop the vehicle & pullover on the side of a bridge….. definitely a no-no in the park. the ranger’s telling us the story said that it was forbidden to stop but that if there was an emergency probably the ‘safest’ place to stop would be in the middle of a bridge…. but for some reason he pulled off at the end of the bridge – which everyone felt seemed very strange.

the story then goes that he (charlie) was sitting on the side of the bridge smoking a cigarette when a leopard underneath the bridge must have spotted the moving shadow & started to stalk him…. eventually jumping up from under the bridge & grabbing the ranger. apparently the way leopards kill is by using the force of their paws crossing each other & snapping the spinal chord / neck….. and that’s what happened to charlie. the terrified tourists witnessed the entire attack & in a state drove the car back to the lodge & apparently got straight on a plane out of there…..

then after arriving home & chatting to some friends we were told another version of the story…. and apparently this comes from a ‘very close to the source (they couldn’t elaborate what ‘source’ it was close to ie. the leopard or dead charlie???) but anyhow according to this tale charlie actually climbed under the bridge and was making ‘animal noises’ to ‘scare his passenger’s’ when the leopard attacked & killed him….

i then googled it….. it seems the ‘official story’ is that he was doing a night drive for 12 passengers & for an unknown reason he stopped by the bridge & got out with his rifle…. he was a few metres behind the vehicle when he was attacked from behind by a very old & very hungry leopard causing him to drop his rifle. he tried to fight the leopard off but couldn’t and was subsequently dragged off, killed & eaten. oh and it didn’t happen ‘2 years ago’ as we were told…. but in 1998!