Things To Do in Bo KaapWatch the firing of the Noon Day Gun
Where? Military Road, Bo-Kaap, (follow signs from corner of Bloem and Buitenkant Sts), Cape Town.
When? 11h25 for 12h00 on Monday to Saturday.
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
How much? Free
More? See website
Forgetful locals and unsuspecting visitors alike jolt at the sound of a midday big bang echoing across Cape Town city skies. No need for alarm or taking cover is required as this tradition has marked the end of morning since 1806 with a sound sharp enough to signal time to set ships chronometers to and reliable enough to set your pocket watch by.
As the sun hits it mark at noon directly overhead in the sky two canons fire their salute skyward marking the international hour of lunch. The Cape's oldest tradition was initially housed at The Castle of Good Hope but as the Cape population grew the proximity of the bang was relocated to Lion Battery on Signal Hill in 1902. Here the twin canons fire proud as the oldest active 'weapons' in daily use.
Head up the hill and watch as a member of the South African Navy loads the canons with gunpowder which will be fired automatically by remote as prompted by the atomic clock from the South African Astronomical Observatory approximately 10km off site. Bring two sandwiches (no, not one for each canon), one to enjoy watching the view across the bay after the firing on the Noon Day Gun and one much like the additional canon; just in case!