At about 1.15 yesterday, Sunday, two of us came across a suspicious guy whose behaviour and appearance struck us as that of a fearful fugitive - which we only concluded afterwards, as it all happened very quickly. It was on the path on the south side of Higher Steenberg Peak (not the one that passes by Fat Lady's Cave, the next on southwards).
He was huddled inside the narrow rock-wall passage on the path, must have been asleep, jumped up when he heard our voices. I told him it's okay, don't get up and we made as if to detour off the path. He immediately lay back down and it was clear that he was alone, so we decided to step over him - I said don't worry, we'll just step over you, and he remained lying there curled up in a tight ball. He had absolutely nothing with him at all & had no shoes on, only socks. As I stepped over him I asked Are you okay? He stared up at me but didn't answer. He looked panicked, and we both felt a sudden urge to quickly get away from him.
He wasn't dirty or in tatters, like a homeless guy - was dressed in brown/khaki pants and long-sleeved hoodie, same colour socks. His skin was very dark, handsome face, big, bright eyes, and he looked to be about in his 20's.
I called TMNP on 086 110 6417 as soon as we had signal, on the path down between Wolfkop and Higher Steenberg Peak. The guy who answered seemed quite sharp, said he understood where and what I meant, and they'd get onto it. We also warned an elderly couple on their way up to continue straight/east on top, to not take that path off to the right/south, and described the guy to them.
Back home, I had no power/wifi, and my smartphone is on the blink, contacts not synced, etc. Kept thinking about him, but wasn't sure what to do. I called TMNP later in the afternoon and the same guy answered - no, they'd not found him but they do have guys on the lookout. I hoped so!
I wonder whether we should have acted differently... perhaps called the surrounding SAPS stations... somehow don't feel I can trust the TMNP rangers to have made it there.
Stay safe, but don't stay away from the mountains