The oldest fishing village on the West Coast, formerly sleepy Paternoster has in recent years become a sought-after holiday destination, but it has not lost its traditional West Coast charm and lifestyle.
Everyday life in the village remains closely linked to the sea, with fishermen using traditional wooden boats (bakkies) to catch fish and, in season, crayfish. Visitors can buy fresh catch from the market or directly from the boats.
Less than two hours’ drive from Cape Town, Paternoster is surrounded by fynbos, fields of wheat in winter and glorious carpets of wildflowers in late winter and spring.
The 80m-high Cape Columbine lighthouse, situated in the 263ha Cape Columbine Nature Reserve that extends along the rocky coastline to adjacent Tietiesbaai, is a landmark. It got its name from the British vessel, Columbine, that was shipwrecked in the area in 1829. Visitors can climb the lighthouse and admire the views from the top.
The nature reserve, with vegetation ranging from West Coast fynbos to Karoo succulents, has a popular campsite stretching to the water’s edge.
Paternoster is a relaxing destination for snorkelers, divers, kite surfers, hikers, bikers and kayakers, and foodies are spoilt for choice – the little town boasts some famous South African chefs and excellent restaurants, some right on the beach.
Things to see
Paternoster is home to talented local artists, with their paintings, sculptures, pottery and photography exhibited at various galleries and stores in the village. Spend a morning browsing, taking in some culture and shopping.
Visitors may spot dolphins, or whales (particularly in winter and spring) and the area is a bird watcher’s paradise, with more than 200 species, including the endangered black oystercatcher.
Things to do
- Stroll along the 8km white, sandy beach of Langstrand
- Join a horse trail on the beach
- Sign up for a cooking class
- Go kayaking on the bay
- Try the local delicacy, dried bokkoms (fish biltong)