To find a place in South Africa that’s untouched by man’s modernisation, and that looks and feels the way it did when it was first established, is rare. However, Paternoster, situation along the renowned Cape West Coast is a bucolic little fishermen’s village, and as close to unspoilt as you can find. Leisure Boating journalist Anton Pretorius visits Paternoster.
Travelling a quick and scenic 150 km from Cape Town along the picturesque R27 West Coast Road, you’ll find the small fishing village of Paternoster. Situated near the town of Vredenburg, you’ll easily find this quaint little hamlet, as a hand-written sign outside one of the local shops warmly greets you with a “moerse welkom aan my kastemers”. That’s Paternoster for you…
Upon arrival, it takes a moment to adjust from the cacophony of the bustling city sounds to the tranquil and rhythmic beat of waves lapping onto the beach, or the squawking song of a lonely seagull in the distance. One is immediately mesmerized by the harmony of Paternoster.
The picturesque fishing village of Paternoster is one of the most charming and quaint villages along the pristine Cape West Coast. A popular weekend destination from Cape Town, Paternoster is known for its tranquil beaches, traditional whitewashed fishermen’s cottages and fresh, tasty seafood.
Popular activities range from cray-fishing, diving and spearfishing excursions to mountain biking. Go sea-kayaking in the Columbine Nature Reserve and spot an abundance of bird and marine life. Dolphins and whale watching are possible almost year-round, whilst spring is a great time to visit Paternoster — when the wildflowers are in bloom.
A drink at the Paternoster Hotel, which has been in existence for over a hundred years, revealed some interesting tales of the local fishermen’s ocean adventures, and the legend of Paternoster. In short, a ship named Columbine sank off the coast of Paternoster in 1829, and the surviving sailors showed their gratitude by saying the “Our Father” prayer, thus the name Paternoster (which means Our Father) was given to the village.