There are many gems scattered along the West Coast of South Africa, but few have managed to shine as bright for so many years as the glimmering Paternoster. This quaint fishing village is located 145 kilometres from Cape Town and offers a holiday haven fit for thrill and serenity seekers alike. Paternoster is widely known and deeply cherished by its inhabitants as one of the oldest fishing villages in South Africa, and even though the town has had its ups and downs over the years, its deep-seated West Coast fisherman’s culture, inviting atmosphere and unique attractions compel visitors to keep coming back to this white-washed paradise.
Paternoster may be small in size, but it’s certainly not to be mistaken for a sleepy coastal town. Jam-packed days await visitors wanting to explore its every nook and cranny, but there are certain essentials that ought to be on every traveller’s list. That’s why TravelGround has made a list of must-do’s when visiting Paternoster.
Drikus Horse Riding
If a therapeutic gallop on Paternoster’s white beaches sounds like your cup of tea, then a visit to Drikus Horse Riding on Swartrug Farm just eight kilometres outside Paternoster is just the pastime for you. Drikus offers beach and cart rides, as well as stabling and riding lessons. They offer different outrides, including one-hour short outrides and sunset rides along the shoreline. Riders can request picnics and sundowners to keep the hunger pains at bay, and mountain bikers and hikers are welcome to hike or cycle on the farm, beach trails and salt marshes.
Where: Swartrug Farm, 8 km from Paternoster
Contact number: 082 748 5596
Important to know: Booking in advance is essential
Kayak in Paternoster
Kayak Paternoster offers exciting kayaking opportunities for both beginners and experienced water enthusiasts. This is certainly a unique and thrilling way to experience Paternoster’s soothing natural sights. Visitors are accompanied by an experienced guide from the launch point next to the fishing boats on the main beach in Paternoster. After a short instructional session on the beach, paddlers are taken on a gentle kayak trip to the main rock point off Paternoster’s shore. Dolphin, seal and whale sightings are frequent in these waters, and plentiful birdlife can also be enjoyed from the drifting kayaks. Depending on the weather, trips kick off early in the morning ─ the perfect time to enjoy Paternoster’s coastal serenity.
Where: Main Beach, Paternoster
Contact number: 083 795 4198
Important to know: Booking in advance is essential
Cape Columbine Nature Reserve
The Cape Columbine Nature Reserve is a West Coast staple and serves as the gateway to Paternoster, with its entrance just five kilometres from the town. This reserve extends over 263 hectares and was declared as such in 1973. The reserve hosts fascinating fynbos species and Karoo succulents all year round, but is at the height of its splendour from August to October when the wild flowers are in bloom. The Cape Columbine Lighthouse is also a popular sight in the reserve. It was the last manned lighthouse to be built in South Africa and is usually the first South African lighthouse to be seen by ships coming from Europe. Built in 1936 on Castle Rock, the light stands at a height of eighty metres above sea level and casts a beam visible for about fifty kilometres.
Where: 5 km from Paternoster
Contact number: 022 752 2705
Die Winkel op Paternoster
Die Winkel op Paternoster translates as “the shop in Paternoster” and is a general dealer in the heart of Paternoster. This shop is well-known for its juxtapose appearance, posing as a typical white-washed and weathered fishing village shop on the outside, but beaming with designer chic and gourmet goods on the inside. The shop offers everything from trendy trinkets, collectables and antiques, to the coveted Oep ve Koop bistro serving traditional West Coast cuisine. Die Winkel op Paternoster is certainly a staple in this coastal village and certainly not to be missed!
Where: Corner of St. Augustine Road and the R45 (Vredenburg Road), Paternoster
Contact number: 022 752 2105
Trading hours: Open daily from 09:00 – 16:00
Gestation culinary experiences have been all the rage in the world of gastronomy for the past decade and is something normally associated with large capital cities, grand hotels and Michelin-starred eateries scattered across Europe. It therefore came as quite the surprise when Paternoster’s own Wolfgat Restaurant was awarded the Best Restaurant in the World at The World Restaurant Awards in Paris in February 2019. This restaurant offers a unique coastal culinary experience in a small twenty-seater fisherman’s cottage, helmed by chef Kobus van der Merwe. Van der Merwe’s commitment to sustainable practices and locally-sourced produce, of which most is foraged in Paternoster, has turned this charming cottage into a true Paternoster landmark.
Where: 10 Sampson Street, Paternoster
Important to know: Booking in advance is essential and all bookings are done online at https://www.wolfgat.co.za/bookonline
Stay in Paternoster
Soli Deo Gloria
This stylish house comprises two units and accommodates eight guests in total. Unit 1 is fully accessible for wheelchairs and even has a wheelchair-friendly deck leading up to a magnificent ocean view. Soli Deo Gloria is the perfect spot for a swanky self-catering stay in Paternoster!
Stay at Emily in Paternoster
If you’ve ever dreamt of spending a few nights in one of Paternoster’s iconic fisherman-style cottages, Stay at Emily is just the place for you. These cottages were created to blend into Paternoster’s fisherman-village charm, providing an affordable break from everyday life. Enjoy a cosy night in front of the fireplace or a few lazy days on the stoep with cameo views of Bekbaai.
Sea Shack offers a unique eco-glamping experience, living in and with nature right at the water’s edge. There are ten cosy shacks set on a picture-perfect bay in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. Here, the birds are your wake-up call and the ocean is your lullaby. Multiple entries to the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve are included when staying at Sea Shack.
Paternoster Manor is set against the panoramic seascapes of the West Coast and is nestled in Bekbaai ─ a picturesque cove within the stretch of coastline between Great Paternoster Point and Cape Columbine. Breakfasts are on offer at this four-star guesthouse and guests can expect an extensive continental buffet, accompanied by a warm breakfast.
If there is one indisputable fact about the West Coast, it’s that a trip up its shores simply isn’t complete without a visit to Paternoster. This fisherman’s haven certainly is, and always will be, the crown jewel of the West Coast!
Feature image: Bigstock
Establishment photo’s: TravelGround.com