IZIKO MUSEUMS & THE COMPANY'S GARDENS
THE NOON GUN
Historical Gardens and Museums in the heart of the city.
The Dutch invaded this part of the world in 1652. The main reason was to grow fresh food for passing ships going to trade in Asia. The Company's Gardens in Cape Town's city centre is where the first vegetable garden was.
It is now a park. It is history surounded by history - some of South Africa's leading mueseums and libraries are nearby it, also the country's parliament, the president's office, and a grand old hotel.
Picnic on its lawns, or read on a bench. There is a restaurant. Don't forget to bring peanuts if you'd like to make friends with the squirrels.
For more information see:
CAPE TOWN'S OLDEST TRADITION: The Noon Gun on Signal Hill.
Every day Mondays to Saturdays at 12 noon - BOOM! The tradition started at the Castle of Good Hope in 1806, when there were no telephones and other modern communications tools.
But before that the firing of the gun had another important function.
As a European colony Cape Town's purpose was mainly to supply passing ships. When a new ship arrived - BOOM! Farmers and others who supplied visiting ships would hear the gun, and took their produce to the harbour.
Watches were not very accurate in those days. So in 1806 the noon gun began. Citizens of Cape Town and on farms near the city would set their watches by the sound. Or, they would look for the smoke that came with the gun's firing.
Sailors on visiting ships also used the gun to set their watches. Accurate time was important for them to navigate by.
The guns were moved up to Signal Hill in 1902. You can visit them six days a week. Entrance is free.
The guy who prepares the gun gives a short talk about it's history and how it works.