One of the most well-known locations in Cape Town for sundowners is Signal Hill, a hill that connects Kloof Nek and Lion’s Head and has the characteristic shape of a lion’s rump. Picnic meals with accompanying drinks are something of a capital habit, and the views from the 350m-high summit are nothing short of breathtaking, especially at night.
Signal Hill resembles “lovers lane” in the evenings when couples come up there to take in the lights and romance of Table Mountain’s backdrop, especially in the summer when it is illuminated at night.
Signal Hill, which separates the City Bowl from the Sea Point neighbourhood, gets its name from its use as the location for the noon gun, which is fired there every day a bit lower than the Signal Hill viewpoint at Lion Battery.
From Cape Point to Signal Hill, which serves as the park’s conceptual boundary, Table Mountain National Park is located. In the past, flags were flown here to alert Capetonians when a ship was nearing the harbour.
It is simple to get to the viewpoint from the city by taking Kloof Nek Road up the hill, where you can then turn right. Signal Hill is home to a few kramats, or religious shrines, and during the day it is a well-liked place to launch paragliders and model airplanes.
Signal Hill History
Signal Hill in Cape Town served as a location from which signal flags could be sent to ships, hence the name. To make sure that the ships were adequately prepared for bad weather while in the bay, the flags were used to provide weather warnings as well as anchoring instructions. When a ship was detected, flags on Signal Hill, which served as the early settlement’s lookout point, were raised to allow Cape Town’s residents time to set out their wares for sale.
The Noon Gun On Signal Hill
The Noon Gun is Cape Town’s oldest custom, and if you are staying anywhere around the City Bowl or V&A Waterfront, chances are good that you have heard the loud “boom” it makes.
The Noon Gun, a huge cannon that is fired every day at noon throughout the year, is fired from Signal Hill, a historic hill (except on Sundays and public holidays).
The Noon Gun bursts over Cape Town City precisely to the nearest millisecond, shocking even the city’s longtime residents and undoubtedly making tourists look uneasy. The guns were transferred to Signal Hill by the British in 1795 after the English took control of the Cape. It was employed for the first time in 1806, and the backup cannon it possesses is still in use today. Signal Hill really has two cannons, so even if the primary weapon malfunctions, there is a backup cannon.
The Noon Day gun was used as a time signal for anchored ships in Table Bay in the early days after the cannon was installed at the Castle of Good Hope. As time signals for ships approaching the port and the harbour, these cannons were later relocated to Signal Hill in 1902, which has a commanding view of the Mother City, the harbour, and Table Bay.
The gun has played another role in Cape Town’s history. When it was fired during the Second World War, all Cape Town residents would pause for two minutes of silence to remember those who had perished in the conflict.
The daily Noon Gun, which has been an institution for more than 200 years, is currently Cape Town’s oldest living custom. The South African Astronomical Observatory now electronically fires the cannon.
Today, the Noon Day Gun is one of the unique quirks that make Cape Town unique and the mother city such an interesting and fascinating location to visit. You may observe the ceremony every day beginning at 11:30 on Signal Hill at Lion Battery.
Signal Hill separates the City Bowl from the suburb of Sea Point on the Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Town, South Africa
How to Get to Signal Hill in Cape Town
The suburbs of Green Point and Sea Point are separated from the City Bowl by Signal Hill, which is situated near Lions’ Head. It is reachable from the city’s core (by following the signs from the corner of Bloem and Buitengracht Streets, heading up to Lion Battery via Military Road in the Bo-Kaap).
At 11:30 am, a presentation on the Noon Gun’s history is given at the Lion Battery, which is owned by the South African Navy. The daily gunfire from the Lion Battery is open to the public to watch.