Hikers Safety Guide
The Magestic Lions Head and Signal Hill
Apart from being truly majestic in beauty, Signal Hill and Lions head are undoubtedly the most popular walked peaks in Cape Town. Signal Hill, once known as Lion’s Rump, is a landmark flat-topped hill located in Cape Town next to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. Together with Lion’s Head, Signal Hill looks like a lion’s sphinx.
Signal Hill is backed with great history too as it has served as a signal station since 1677. The early settlers fired a small cannon from it’s heights and flew a large flag to announce the first sight of any approaching ships. A hut nearby housed two signalmen, who survived on supplies brought to them by Ox cart, via a dirt track.
This system was used for many years to signal what type of vessels were approaching, and where they were coming from. This was eventually increased to a more advanced way of signaling, via a combination of large balls and flags which were erected to indicate such messages. This information was considered extremely vital for trade and commerce, as the Cape had become a very busy station for ships on route to the East or returning.
In addition to these signals, a time signal was then also given to ships by firing a large pistol which an explosion then followed and could be seen by a telescope several kilometers away, at night. This allowed approaching ships to adapt their direction by making changes within their chronometers.
Why the Cannon still fires today at noon time
Then in 1833 a repeating signal system was implemented which connected directly to the Royal Observatory, This was later connected to a cannon that fired from Signal Hill at 6am and 9pm daily. From 1901 this was changed and the cannon was then only fired at noon time, just like it still does today.
~ Picture Credit to SA Venues ~
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