The leopard climbed over a tree next to the fence and jumped into the yard at about 8pm.
The distraught boy’s father Isaiah Ntimane, 35, who works as a water operator in the park, told Independent Media his wife and son came to visit him at work from Bushbuckridge and the family was having a braai.
“I was walking to my cottage and he followed me. I didn’t notice that he was behind me because I left him there playing with his mother’s phone. And just when I got to my cottage I heard screams coming from outside,” he said.
Ntimane said he rushed out to see what the commotion was about when he found his toddler hanging from the leopard’s jaw. He said the leopard tried to carry Courtney over the fence, but it failed and dropped the child before it disappeared.
“We rushed him to Shongwe Hospital, but when we arrived he was already dead,” said the father.
The funeral is planned for Sunday at Mkhuhlu, which is situated just outside the park.
Rangers tracked and shot two leopards found near the scene, an adult female and a sub-adult female.
Post-mortems performed on the leopards revealed they was in very good condition with good teeth and no obvious injuries. The adult female had an empty gut but had plenty of body fat, while the younger leopard had fresh impala in its stomach.
Officials surmise the behaviour of the adult - which attacked the child - was opportunistic, rather than driven by hunger.