Paternoster has become one of the most popular tourist villages in South Africa. City dwellers looking for a coastal breakaway have been flooding to Paternoster over the last couple of years, it’s not difficult to see why.
Nobody really knows where the name Paternoster comes from but there are a couple of theories. Paternoster means ‘Our Father’ in Latin, which has people believing that the name refers to prayers said by shipwrecked Catholic Portuguese seamen. Others believe that the name refers to the beads that the indigenous Khoi tribe wore which was also called Paternosters. We might never know where the name comes from but we do know that Paternoster’s popularity will keep on growing. Major development is prohibited in Paternoster which means that the old world charm of the village will forever stay intact.
Where to stay:
The village has accommodation in abundance. Around every corner there is an old cottage that has been beautifully renovated and turned into self-catering units. The best way to explore small villages is by staying in self-catering accommodation. Self-catering accommodation is cheaper and it gives you the opportunity to braai the local meat or seafood and you have the whole unit for yourself and your family. In Paternoster you have to braai some fresh seafood otherwise you aren’t doing it right. Check out these great places: Dune Ridge, Dankbaar, Dunesburry and Abalone House.
Where and what to eat:
You’re in a coastal town on the West Coast of South Africa, there is only one thing to eat, Seafood. The fisherman on the west coast have been living off the sea for almost a century. Today we all head down to these villages to eat what we can’t get in the city anymore, morning caught fresh seafood. Paternoster is known for three things, West Coast Rock Lobster or Crayfish, Snoek and white washed fisherman’s cottages. The best seafood in town is bought fresh from the harbour or from the back of a fisherman’s bakkie.
Trip Advisor rates the The Square Spoon as the best restaurant in Paternoster. “Top Drawer”, “Another Great Reason to Visit Paternoster”, “Its Hip to be Square” and “Number one Place” is how people have described this little gem on the West Coast. The menu changes with the seasons, but fresh seafood like Crayfish, Geelbek and White Stumpnose can usually be found on the menu.
The Abalone House is home to perhaps the most famous restaurant on the west coast, Ruben’s. The owner, Reuben Riffel, is a household name in South Africa and is renowned for his culinary prowess. He made a name for himself through his first restaurant that he opened in Franschhoek. He now has four restaurant countrywide and he is a judge on the popular cooking show Masterchef South Africa. The Noisy Oyster serves real fine dining dishes in South African style. The menu is also constantly changing but there are plenty of dishes to choose from. The must try dishes at the Noisy Oyster is the Thai Seafood Curry and the fresh Oysters.
The Gaaitjie Salt Water Restaurant was set up inside a 70 year old fisherman’s cottage that has an unrestricted view over the ocean. The restaurant focuses on local dishes which they put a little twist on. There is a 110 year old fisherman’s cottage that is home to the best pizza restaurant in town. Blikkies Pizzeria serves up some of the best thin crust Italian pizzas on the west coast. Their wood fired pizza won the Certificate of Excellence badge from Trip Advisor in 2012 and 2013. If you though that Paternoster is all about seafood then you haven’t been to Blikkies Pizzeria. Paternoster is without a doubt the number one foodie destination on the west coast.
This picturesque fishing town is one of the oldest coastal towns in South Africa. There are countless white-washed old fishermen’s cottages scattered along the long white beach. The atmosphere of a fishing community from a bygone era has been preserved here. Today the town has a crayfish factory and a newly erected Kabeljou farm. The local fisherman catch and sell herring and snoek and pick black mussels from the rocks along the coast. Today the economy of the town is almost totally independent of tourism. With a fascinating history, great food and a beautiful coastline, Paternoster has something for everyone to enjoy.
What to do:
People seem to think that there isn’t much to do in the west coast but eat, sleep and drink but that can’t be further from the truth. There are enough activities to choose from in Paternoster to keep you busy for a week. You can go beach buggy riding in the dunes from Paternoster to St Helena Bay. Kayaking and Horse Riding are the best ways to exploring Paternoster’s coastline. Adrenalin junkies can go deep sea fishing or diving for crayfish. During the calving season you can also go and view whales by joining West Coast Adventures who do day trips out to sea. Bird watching routes and hiking trails are also very popular. If all else fails then head down to the beach with a bottle of champagne and watch the sun as it sets over the Atlantic, there surely is nothing better than that!
Location, Climate and when to Go
The town is around 150km from Cape Town, which is on average a 1 hour and 45 minute drive. From Cape Town you follow the West Coast Road (R27) which runs along the coast past Melkbosstrand, Langebaan and Vredenburg. The climate is very pleasant during the summer, with the thermostat recording 35 degrees almost on a daily basis. During the winter it can get quite cold in Paternoster so be sure to get a place with an indoor braai if you are planning on going in the winter. The best time to go is during the summer months October – March. Swimmers should be warned that the ocean is always cold at Paternoster, even during the summer.
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