Pta man fights off tiger with bicycle

Sam Songwani. Photos: BeCool Rainbownation

A man used his bicycle to fight off a tiger that roamed the streets in the east of Pretoria last week.

“I had to fight with a very strong tiger for an hour-and-a-half,” Sam Songwani told Rekord on Monday.

The 51-year-old man left his house for work in the early hours of Friday.

Angry tigers running free was the last thing on his mind.

Songwani said he was riding on his bicycle around 06:00 when he saw the tiger lying under a tree.

With the blink of an eye the tiger was up and coming for him outside The Meadows estate in Silverlakes.

“The animal was so fast and I had to react immediately.”

Songwani said he picked up a few stones to scare off the tiger, but this animal was not easily scared.

“I used up all my stones and just had my bicycle with me and used it to fight the tiger off,” he recalled.

“It was the most dangerous and terrifying day of my life. It felt like the tiger would not stop until it would succeed with its plan to tear all my limbs from my body.”

A 36-year old business woman from Pretoria, Charnelle Grobler, witnessed the rare clash.

She said she saw how he tried to fight the fierce tiger off with his bicycle for about 30 minutes.

Grobler said she was sitting in her car as she watched Songwani fighting for his life.

“I grabbed my phone and called the nearby Farm Inn to notify them about the tiger’s attack.”

Grobler said Songwani later sought refuge behind her car while the tiger was standing in front of the vehicle.

“I was extremely nervous and excited at the same time to be seeing such a big animal just metres away from me.”

It later emerged that the tiger had escaped from The Farm Inn.

Workers from the inn responding to Grobler’s earlier alert soon arrived.

The tiger was darted and taken back to his enclosure.

The owner of The Farm Inn, Pedro Michaletos said the matter was being investigated.

“We are still trying to figure out how the tiger got out because there is no hole or anything wrong with the fencing.”

He said he was overhauling his electric system to make sure that something like this did not happen again.

“I did not realise that my tiger was outside. I only became aware of this when photos of my wandering cat was put on


The tiger was not the only wild animal that made headlines in Pretoria last week.

The day after his capture, two young lions escaped from Dinokeng nature reserve in Hammanskraal.

Reserve manager Piet Venter said the two animals, believed to be about 18 months old, slipped into the fenced Walmansthal military area.

“Luckily there was no cost to a human life. The lions killed two cattle, but they just ate bits and pieces of it.”

Venter said the carcasses of the cattle helped to locate the lions.

“We moved the carcasses further away from where we found it and then built a hide there,” he said.

“Around 20:00 Saturday evening, the lions returned to the carcasses to eat. We were then able to dart them.”

Satellite trackers were now being put up to monitor the movements of the lions.

“It is possible that the two young lions could have been chased away by the male leader of the pride, as this happens when younger lions in the pride approach adulthood.”

Venter said the reserve was well-fenced.

“We will do our best to avoid such episodes from re-occurring.”

Also read:

NEWSFLASH: Tiger roams Pretoria east streets

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Jason Milford

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