In Cape Town, at 12 noon every day, a cannon fires a single shot from Signal Hill. Now a firmly entrenched tradition to set your watch to, a visit to the noon gun is one of the must do attractions in Cape Town and offers arguably the best views of the Mother City.
However, with the excitement of the World Cup, and the magnificent Green Point stadium prominently displayed below, says Petty Officer for the South African Navy, Alistair Maasdorp, “people are no longer coming up here to watch the noon gun, but to look at the stadium instead.”
Having lived on top of the hill with his family for five years, Maasdorp is responsible for preparing the cannon for its daily activity and has watched the stadium grow with interest. “This is definately the best view,” he says picturing fans coming to join him come tournament time. “For people who want to see the stadium from a different view, this is the best place to be. Maybe they will bring their radios up here so that they can listen to the match and see the view from above at the same time”.
Almost 214 years old, the cannons were left behind by the British after their occupation in the 18th century. From 1806 the cannons have signaled to ships in the harbor the correct time of day, and on 2 December, to officially welcome the world to Cape Town, the cannons fired their 64 011 shot.
“Cape Town is ready to welcome the world”, said Cape Town executive mayor Dan Plato at the official mayoral reception hosted by the City of Cape Town on Signal Hill. “Below us is our beautiful stadium. With its state-of-the-art facilities, outstanding design and incomparable setting, it is destined to be an iconic image of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”
A suitably impressed FIFA President Joseph S Blatter praised the city and said, “ To come to the Cape of Good Hope, is very special to us. The real kick off to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa will happen in two days. This is your World Cup, the African World Cup in South Africa.”
Open from 8am to 4pm most days and free to the public, the view of the stadium, as well as the city and Robben Island in the distance will offer visitors to the city something quite spectacular. Says Maasdorp, “People come up here and fall in love all over again.”