Signal Hill And The Noon Gun
Signal Hill is a prominent landmark in the north-west of Cape Town. It forms the “lion’s body” for the nearby Lion’s Head mountain top. It is from here that the historic noon gun is fired. Providing quite a shock to first time visitors, a cannon sends out a distinctive boom as they fire 3lbs of gunpowder at midday, six days a week.
The cannons (of which there are two) were brought to Cape Town during the British Invasion of 1795, and have sat on Signal Hill since 1902 - making them the oldest tradition in the city. Despite its age, the noon gun has moved with the times. Today it has its own Twitter account, although it has to be said, the content is a little samey!
Signal Hill is also of ecological and cultural importance. It contains the only surviving sample of Peninsula Shale Renosterveld vegetation. This vegetation was completely endemic to the the Cape Town City Bowl, and since urban growth has expanded, this small area is the final example. There are also numerous tombs, or Kramats, on the hill for Muslim missionaries, such as sheikh Mohamed Hassen Ghaibie (Shah al-Qadri), a follower of Sheikh Yusuf.
It is certainly worth a visit, the hill provides those who wish to hike with spectacular views across Table Bay harbour, the central city and the Atlantic Ocean. There are also many spots for visitors to take advantage of a fabulous place for a picnic.