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Signal Hill, Cape Town
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Signal Hill and the Noon Gun

Signal Hill and the Noon Gun image

Signal Hill pathway to the Noon Gun. Photo courtesy Danie van der Merwe

Signal Hill is a prominent landmark from which the historic noon gun is fired, and forms the “lion’s body” for the adjacent Lion’s Head mountain top.

Signal Hill rewards hikers with spectacular views across the Cape Town harbour, city and Atlantic Ocean. Many family-friendly picnic spots here are favoured by tourists and locals all year round.

Signal Hill is named for its original use: the practice of flying signal flags to communicate with nearby ships, and later for the daily firing the famous noon-day gun.

The gun provides quite a startling introduction to Cape Town for first-time visitors as the distinctive boom sends birds fluttering into the sky and has surprised tourists wondering at the reverberating sound.

In fact there are two guns (cannon, actually) on Signal Hill – a main gun and a back-up. The guns were brought to Cape Town by the British in 1795, and it is thought that they were used in combat during the Battle of Muizenberg in August, 1795. They were originally housed in the Castle of Good Hope before being transported to Signal Hill by ox-wagon in 1902, where they served as time signals for ships anchored in the harbour.

The cannon weigh roughly three tons each and fire 1.5kg (3lb) of gunpowder daily at noon, except on Sundays and public holidays. Members of the public are welcome to watch (from a demarcated safe distance) as this daily ritual plays out. Since 1902, the noon gun has been fired more than 62 000 times.

Observe the daily firing of the gun, or simply enjoy a cold drink or picnic (bring your own fare) from the parking lot at the end of the road, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. Afterwards, head down to the Bo-Kaap for a meal at the Noon Gun Tea Room, +27 (0)21 424 0529, in Longmarket Street.

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Contact Details

Cape Town Tourism

  • Tel: +27 (0)21 487 6800
  • Distance from Cape Town CBD: 3 km
  • Est. Time from Cape Town CBD: 5 min
  • Suggested Time at Destination: 2 hours

Entrance:
Free

Open:
24 hours, but be especially careful at night

Closest Visitor Information Centre

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City Centre Visitor Information Centre

Enquiry

Do you need more information, or would like to make a booking? Call (+27 21 487 6800), email, or Skype us.

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Signal Hill is a prominent landmark from which the historic noon gun is fired, and forms the “lion’s body” for the adjacent Lion’s Head mountain top.

Signal Hill rewards hikers with spectacular views across the Cape Town harbour, city and Atlantic Ocean. Many family-friendly picnic spots here are favoured by tourists and locals all year round.

Signal Hill is named for its original use: the practice of flying signal flags to communicate with nearby ships, and later for the daily firing the famous noon-day gun.

The gun provides quite a startling introduction to Cape Town for first-time visitors as the distinctive boom sends birds fluttering into the sky and has surprised tourists wondering at the reverberating sound.

In fact there are two guns (cannon, actually) on Signal Hill – a main gun and a back-up. The guns were brought to Cape Town by the British in 1795, and it is thought that they were used in combat during the Battle of Muizenberg in August, 1795. They were originally housed in the Castle of Good Hope before being transported to Signal Hill by ox-wagon in 1902, where they served as time signals for ships anchored in the harbour.

The cannon weigh roughly three tons each and fire 1.5kg (3lb) of gunpowder daily at noon, except on Sundays and public holidays. Members of the public are welcome to watch (from a demarcated safe distance) as this daily ritual plays out. Since 1902, the noon gun has been fired more than 62 000 times.

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