Being the oldest and last-standing fishermen’s village on the West Coast means that a visit to Paternoster is certainly something special. Situated 120kms away from the heart of Cape Town, it is a tranquil breakaway for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Mother City. Here, residents live simply, where trails on the beach are encouraged and the only sounds you’ll hear are fishermen chattering after a day out on the sea and thunderous waves crashing on the shoreline.
While Paternoster is a place to gather your thoughts and rejuvenate your spirit, it offers many activities for the typical outdoorsman. Being a fisherman’s village means that you’re bound to get a taste of ocean-fresh seafood coming straight off the boat, sample the local bokkum and a myriad of fish that the West Coast has become renowned for. The town is a treat to visit for a day, but the many seaside hotels and villages encourage visitors to prolong their stay.
If you are wanting to get more acquainted with the town or are looking for a destination for the next upcoming holiday, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on where to eat, dine and what to do upon your Paternoster visit.
What to do in Paternoster
Explore the seas on a kayak
Venture out into the ocean at morning tide on a guided kayak tour. Upon the tour you’ll see breath taking views of the horizon and if you’re lucky, a myriad of marine life.
Common sights to see are colonies of birds roosting on a massive rock outcrop, while shoals of dolphins and pods of whales are seasonal frequenters to the shorelines.
The kayaks are launched from the main beach and the route followed is safe and easy for the novice sea-farer, yet provides an exciting thrill for the keen kayaker too.
At Botha Art Gallery
The At Botha Art Gallery has a diverse collection of high quality collectables by the well known South African actor and artist, At Botha.
This family-run gallery should be on the itinerary of all art appreciators, displaying scenes from daily West Coast living.
If you’re looking to stock up for wintertime clothing, cosy knitware is also sold at the gallery.
Take a hike up to Cape Columbine Lighthouse
The Cape Columbine Lighthouse is the youngest landmark of its kind in South Africa. Having been built in 1936,the lighthouse was the last manned lighthouse to have been constructed.
The rickety, spiral staircase takes you high above the ground, granting views which overlook the Atlantic Ocean and the majestic Britannia Reef.
A visit to Paternoster Se Padstal
The Paternoster Se Padstal sells a miscellany of knicknackery, offering up all forms of memorabilia and convenience goods to Paternoster’s holidaymakers.
One’s initial impression of the little shop is one of wonder, just outside the entryway stands an out-of-use fishing boat, while peaking inside one can see an eclectic assortment of colourful market wares and local food – from mobile shells and T-shirts to fudge and marinated mussels in a jar.
Take a tour of Paternoster on a beach buggy
Accredited tour guide, Deon van Schalwyk will take you on a scenic route of Paternoster atop a beach buggy. Feel the wind at your back while you visit all the tourist attractions and learn the history of the fishing village.
The tour will have you riding over sand dunes and if you visit during the months of August and September, you’ll have the opportunity to view the wondrous Cape spring flowers in full bloom.
Horse Riding on the Beach
Horse back riding on the beach ‘Swartrug Farm’, situated 8km from Paternoster. Duration and difficulty levels vary, but if you are looking for a relaxing family-friendly ride, we suggest you try out the sunset rides.
Here you’ll be treated to magnificent views as well as sundowners and a picnic on the beach(please note that this needs to be arranged beforehand).
Where to stay in Paternoster
Sugar Shack emanates the fisherman-style cottages that are scattered throughout the village. A stay here allows guests to experience the typical homestay of a Paternoster fisherman – providing rustic charm with a touch of modern-age living.
A stay at the Sugar Shack allows for any kind of getaway – a family week of fun can be enjoyed here or an intimate romantic weekend away. In terms of décor, the Sugar Shack is designed around a traditional West Coast theme, with a focus on understated elegance.
Sip sundowners on the verandah while keeping your eyes peeled for the resident dolphins!
Paternoster Dunes has six individually decorated bedrooms, some of which are sea-facing with views that overlook the beach.
Apart from the luxurious rooms that cater to your every whim, there are also communal areas that are designed for privacy. After a day spent on the beach, relax and sip on a holiday-themed cocktail at the bar or the upstairs verandah, or find a holiday read at the guest house’s inbuilt library.
While being a few minute’s drive from the centre of Paternoster, Farr Out is set in the remote wilderness.
On your arrival, you’ll see a sprawling indigenous garden and get a glimpse of the picturesque Paternoster Bay.
The four luxury rooms on offer provide you with a comfortable stay with all the added creature comforts that you might need. The rooms are en suite, sea-facing and come with all the facilities that you can think of.
If you’re looking for more unique lodgings, Farr Out has a twin-peak tepee Wigwam. This is the ultimate way to get in touch with your natural surroundings.
Where to dine in Paternoster
This well-known landmark was originally built in 1863 and served as a mall and entertainment venue for the Paternoster residents.
The hotel is renowned for its onsite restaurant, which is open to both guests and day visitors. The eatery takes great pride in their seafood dishes, especially their crayfish – a delicacy that can be enjoyed with a crisp glass of locally-produced wine.
Diners can bask up the olden-day charm at the dining room or lap up some sun on the outside terrace.
Skatkis Restaurant was established as a seaside restaurant in 2006, offering a tranquil setting to those coming straight off the beach. Enjoy a meal or sip on a sundowner while watching as the sun sets over the ocean, or the fishermen as they come ashore after their day’s sea harvest.
For the most part, the menu comprises mainly of seafood and traditional West Coast dishes. However, if those options don’t tickle your fancy the juicy lamb shank will certainly hit the right spot. Aunty Julie’s melkos is a must-try for those who’ve got a sweet tooth and looking to try out some authentic Afrikaans cuisine.
The Noisy Oyster is fine dining at its best, offering some of the best sea food of the West Coast.
Sit on the outside terrace on a balmy, Summer evening. It will feel as if you’ve been transported to an enchanted forest, with fairy lights enmeshed in towering trees.
While seafood is one of the Noisy Oyster’s biggest draw cards, the menu caters for vegetarians too. If you’re known to enjoy a spicy curry, opt for the ‘Thai Seafood Curry’.