South African Labour Court Judge Anton Steenkamp, 57, has died after being bitten by a black mamba - one of the most venomous snakes - while on holiday in Zambia.
"We are devastated. No words. What an incredible man. His wife, Catherine, is still on her own in Zambia. They were touring Africa. We as a family were very, very proud of him," a relative Ruby Steenkamp told South Africa's News24 site.
South African newspaper columnist Max du Preez paid tribute to Judge Steenkamp, describing him as a "clever, kind, progressive man of great integrity".