Slow down and take a weekend jaunt to Paternoster, one of the West Coast’s prettiest places.
The quintessential West Coast town, Paternoster has the kind of charm that so often characterises small, seaside villages. There’s something about the whitewashed houses set against the striking landscape, and the colourful fishing boats scattered on the beach that makes the perfect picture. But, Paternoster is not just a sleepy fishing village — spend a weekend here, and you’ll discover some of the area’s best dining, as well as an unexpected art scene and fun outdoor pursuits. Of course, if you’re simply seeking some respite from the city and want to curl up next to a fireplace with a glass of wine, there’s plenty of time for that too!
Find a spot
If you’re looking for a cosy hideaway, you might consider Sugar Shack. A fisherman-style cottage, the place is ideal for a family or group of friends, as it has three double bedrooms as well as a dining and lounge area with a fireplace, and a spacious enclosed veranda. The sun deck boasts gorgeous sea views, and if you’re brave enough, there’s even an outdoor shower with hot water!
If you’re after a little glamour, Abalone House — a stylish boutique hotel — offers comfortable rooms all set around a pretty courtyard and pool. They also have two self-catering villas, ideal for two couples. It’s close to the beach if you feel like a stroll, although the interiors, jacuzzi and on-site Reuben’s restaurant may tempt you to stay indoors when the weather is chilly.
The Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel is a 5-star getaway that offers guests unparalleled views of the ocean; breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at their onsite (very popular) Leeto Restaurant.
Paternoster also has a wealth of guesthouses and self-catering units to choose from.
Wolfgat, a restaurant by chef Kobus van der Merwe, offers a lengthy 7-course dining experience focusing on produce (mostly self-foraged) from the area including seafood, seaweed, seasonal veldkos and venison.
De See Kat is loved for its relaxed ambience and perfect sea views, as well as its live music and good range of seasonal dishes. The menu is ideal for sushi-lovers — indulge in all the classics, or if you feel like something with a local twist, try the biltong rolls or the California rolls made with crayfish, red curry and coconut.
Another Paternoster favourite, The Noisy Oyster is a cosy, intimate space with a little bit of quirkiness thrown in for good measure. Expect fresh oysters, of course — served with the classic lemon and Tabasco, or add salsa or horseradish for an extra kick. Mains include options like seafood laksa made with prawns, mussels, fish, and calamari in a thick, spicy coconut broth served with noodles; and whole pan-roasted fish served with olives, capers, tomatoes, spring onion and new potatoes.
Explore the area
Any winter trip to the West Coast is, of course, sweetened by the sight of the flowers that bring the area to life every year. Depending on the season, you can expect to see the phenomenon any time between mid-July and late September, when much of the landscape is transformed into a carpet of colour. More than 1500 species of flowers can be found in and around Paternoster, and the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve just out of town is one of the best places to see them. The nature reserve also includes Tietiesbaai, a rocky stretch of coastline with inlets, coves and pockets of pretty beach.
If the weather is good, visitors to Paternoster can enjoy horse riding trails on the beach and surrounding area. There are also guided ocean kayaking trips available — they’re a great way to see seabirds, dolphins, whales and seals, as well as penguins that have established a colony on outer rocks only accessible by boat.
Enjoy some art
Stone Fish Studio and Gallery is the working studio of local artist Dianne Heesom-Green and showcases fine art by a range of professional Western Cape artists. The space often hosts artist-led workshops and classes over weekends, so if you need a creative fix, look out for their upcoming events.
The At Botha Art Gallery is another arty space in town. The gallery showcases work by actor and artist At Botha and his son Johan Botha. At also runs five-day painting holidays, where students can begin and complete a painting each day.
To find out more about the area, contact www.paternoster.info.