Paternoster means “Our Father” and is said to refer to the prayers of Portuguese sailors. Situated about 145 kilometres from Cape Town, the village is one of the oldest on the west coast.
With quaint white and blue fishermen’s cottages and colourful fishing boats resting on the beach, it surprises and charmsvisitors and is popular all year round with Capetonians.
Holiday accommodation is sprinkled authentically amid the local houses, and renovated or new cottages maintain the same rustic, crisp simplicity. The combination of haphazardness and uniformity is harmonious and appealing. Fishing boats are often incorporated as quirky garden features or novelty signposts.
Fishing is still the pulse of the village. The foghorn sounds a warning when mist creeps over the bay and the goings-on of the fishermen are endlessly fascinating.
With azure waters, sandy white beaches, sea birds, indigenous flowers and beautiful sea views sometimes graced by whales and dolphins, Paternoster is a place to watch the world unfold, or curl up with a book, lulled by the rhythm of the waves. There are great shops and stalls and finger-licking is mandatory at restaurants serving delicious fresh crayfish (locally called kreef) and the best local wines.
Paternoster has mostly winter rainfall and a Mediterranean climate. Average winter temperatures range from eight degrees to 16 degrees Celsius, while 25 degrees Celsius is the daytime average in February (summer). Whether hot, windy or cold, Paternoster is picturesque, lively and unique. One rapidly develops affection for its simple style and loveliness.
Look out for
Crayfish season (November to April) – permits for crayfish diving and spear-fishing are available from the post office and are necessary for buying crayfish from locals.
Kite-surfers enjoy the beach and Paternoster offers excellent sea-kayaking.
Drikus Horse Trails – eight kilometres from Paternoster.
Nature Reserves - the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (from Diep River in Milnerton to the Berg River near Velddrif) encompasses Paternoster.
Cape Columbine Nature Reserve – (Tietiesbaai) is 3 kilometres from Paternoster. The last manned lighthouse on the South African coast draws visitors to this wild, beautiful reserve, with indigenous Strandveld, spring flowers, lovely coastal hikes, a camp and caravan site, picnic, braai and ablution facilities.
Birdwatching - 250 species of birds, many of them water birds, breed along the coastline. The West Coast National Park and the Berg River Estuary are birding hot spots.
West Coast Fossil Park yielded a Stone Age fossilised skull and showcases extinct animal fossils - many with scarily big teeth.
Eateries – Blikkies Pizzeria, aged 117, is the oldest building in Paternoster, with a beautiful sea view, and boasts “the second-best pizza in the world”; Die Winkel Op Paternoster (Oep ve Koep Bistro) sells old-world treats, eats and crafts; try the Noisy Oyster’s seafood.