Signal Hill runs from Lion’s Head out towards the V&A Waterfront and Sea Point, flanking the City Bowl. People flock here every day for the firing of the Noon Gun, one of Cape Town’s oldest traditions.
The Noon Gun
The cannon at the South African Navy’s Lion Battery on Signal Hill startles the notoriously short-memoried pigeons of the City Bowl every day. Even hardened Capetonians jump in surprise from time to time when the bang echoes through the city. The gun was fired for the first time in 1806. It was used as a signal (hence Signal Hill) to ships in Table Bay. These are the oldest guns in daily use in the world. The noon gun has been one constant in Cape Town’s colourful and ever-changing history, with the tradition surviving colonial occupations, wars, and apartheid.
Two guns are loaded daily (in case of a misfire – although that’s rumoured to have only happened once in 200 years!) with 1.5kg of gunpowder. The cannneer raises a flag, and tells the story of the gun and its history. Then, at precisely noon, the gun is fired. Arrive around 11:30 daily (except Sundays and public holidays) to witness the event. You can also purchase some ear plugs: the bang is louder than you think.
Signal Hill is also one of the launch sites for paragliding. When conditions allow, there are few things as memorable as soaring over the city, drifting on the thermal air currents and admiring the spectacular sea and mountain views, before landing in Sea Point or Camps Bay.
There are a number of accredited operators in Cape Town, including Fly Cape Town Paragliding, Cape Town Tandem Paragliding, Skywings Paragliding, Parapax Tandem Paragliding, and the Tandem Flight Company.
There are few better spots in the city to enjoy sundowners. From this vantage point, there are panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain, and the city. You can drive there yourself, but one of the best (and safest) ways to enjoy the view is with the Cape Town City Sightseeing Sunset Bus.
Planning a trip to Cape Town? Book flights, browse accommodation, and rent a car now to get the best rates. The Cape Town City Pass gives you access to over 70 of the top Cape Town attractions, tours, and things to see and do, including the popular hop on hop off City Sightseeing bus.
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