German tourist shot dead during dream holiday in South Africa when car ambushed

The ringleader fired at least one shot through the window into the driver (Jamie Pyatt News Ltd/South African Police Service)
The ringleader fired at least one shot through the window into the driver (Jamie Pyatt News Ltd/South African Police Service)

A German tourist was shot dead in cold blood when his car was ambushed by an armed gang on the first day of a dream holiday with friends in South Africa.

The victim was in the people carrier with a woman believed to be his wife and another German couple and were just 25 miles from the Kruger National Park.

As they drove through a township area of a farming village at White River in Mpumalanga Province a VW Caddy pulled in front of their Hyundai Staria.

Three men believed to be in camouflage gear jumped out with guns having forced the German tourists to a halt and screamed:”Open the doors!”.

When the driver hit a button centrally locking all four doors it is believed the ringleader fired at least one shot through the window into the driver.

He had already put the car into reverse and then sped backwards 100 yards crashing into a school wall as the panicking gunmen made their getaway.

Tragically the driver had been so badly shot in the upper body his partner and friends could do nothing for him and he died almost instantly at the scene.

Police and emergency services rushed to the scene but could do nothing to help him and launched a huge manhunt for the gang who shot him dead.

The brutal murder of the German and the terror inflicted on those in the car with him will horrify South African tourist chiefs who are just rebuilding their market after Covid.

One of the first responders said:”It was a really bad gunshot wound and due to the blood we could not tell initially whether it was just one shot or more.

“His wife or partner was incredibly distressed and I have never seen in all my years anybody so distressed and it was an incredibly upsetting situation.

“There was a lot of blood and screaming and as you can imagine the tourists were hysterical but nothing that could be done to save his life” he said.

It is thought the group had just flown in from Germany to Johannesburg and were making the 250-mile drive to the Mdluli Lodge for a safari holiday.

The Mdluli Lodge is just inside the Kruger National Park’s Numbi Gate and they were just 25 miles away from its safety when they were ambushed at 4.30pm.

Just inside the gate 5 miles along a dirt track is the Mdluli Lodge which has 50 luxury tents at £289 each per night overlooking a river with game viewing.

Guests go out twice daily on 4 x 4 safari jeeps to view the Big 5 of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard with gourmet dining at lunch and dinner.

Tragically the German tourists were just 45 minutes from their destination.

Police spokesman Brigadier Selvy Mohala said:”Four German tourists were stopped by three armed suspects who ordered them to open the doors.

“The driver reportedly locked all the doors and one of the suspects shot him in the upper body through the window as the driver went into reverse.

“He reversed the vehicle about 100 metres and crashed into a school wall but it would seem he by then had died on the spot as a result of the shooting.

“The suspects sped off in their car without taking anything with them” he said.

Mpumalanga Police Provincial Commander Lieutenant General Semakeleng Manamela condemned the cowardly attack and promised to give justice.

She said:”This attack on a group of tourists was really cruel and uncalled for especially given the economic challenges which our country is facing now.

“When one has tourists then it is the tourist sector that is benefitting in a way which gives a boost to our struggling economy which it needs.

“We call on our citizens who might have seen or heard or have any information about these criminals to come forward so we can bring swift justice”.

In 2020 German restauranteur Eduard Neumeister, 67, was hacked to death as he opened up his eatery in South Africa for breakfast to his customers.

He died in a hail of blows at the Bratwurst Sausage Restaurant in Balgowan, 70 miles north of Durban which he ran with his partner Margit Riebler, 62.

South Africa is said to be one of the most dangerous places in the world with 67 murders a day and 115 reported rapes but tourist murders are rare.