JOSHUA PENNY, and his strange experience – Dr Dawn Gould

JOSHUA PENNY was an American who had been conscripted into the British Navy. Aboard ship he arrived at Cape Town 1795/6 at the height of the first British Occupation of the Cape.   He jumped ship fled into the interior returned to the Cape, was caught and jailed as a deserter.


He managed to escape but this time fled up into the wild area surrounding Table Mountain. There he found a cave or different caves for shelter, water to drink and somehow managed to survive on small animals he possibly caught with a knife he had.   He also survived the larger wild animals roaming the mountain.    He lived this way for about fourteen months then made his way back to Table Bay.


There he managed to be taken aboard a Danish ship that eventually reached New York. In 1815 he published a memoir of his adventures .   Years later a mountaineer found a cave he had possibly used near Fountain Ravine.  The pieces found are on view at the Cape Town Mountain Club.