Rangers killed two suspected rhino poachers in a shooting at the famous Kruger Park, the South African National Parks said on Friday.
The incident on Thursday night occurred when an anti-poaching patrol came across three people, carrying a loaded heavy gun and poaching equipment, SANParks said in a statement.
"During this contact, two of the suspects were fatally injured and the third managed to escape under cover of darkness," it added.
Home to about 80% of the world rhino population, South Africa has been the epicentre of poaching in recent years.
Last year it lost 769 rhinos to poachers, and more than 7 100 animals have been slaughtered over the past decade
Poaching is fuelled by the demand for rhino horn in Asia, where it is coveted as a traditional medicine, an aphrodisiac or as a status symbol, and can fetch up to $60 000 per kilogramme.