If you’ve ever meandered up South Africa’s West Coast in your travels then you may very well have landed up in what is arguably one of our country’s most quaint, picturesque and eye-catching rustic fishing villages. With its white-washed buildings, clean sprawling beaches, friendly locals, bustling curio and art shops and of course a host of restaurants and function venues to suit every tantalised tastebud, Paternoster really is an amazing option for a quick hop up the coast within a fairly short distance from the city (around 140km). You feel that warm ‘Weskus’ hospitality from the moment you pass the little sign on the side of the road that reads “Welcome to Paternoster”…
This was not my first visit to the little hamlet and my experiences there have been nothing but fond. This was, however, the first time I had been there in a number of years and I was happy to note some changes here and there for the better and to conclude that overall the town had remained pretty much the same – in keeping with its rustic, laid-back personality – since last I entered this nook of a playground. This time around I was visiting and overnighting for a family wedding and if you know anything about the West Coast it’s that her people know how to celebrate, have a good time and ply visitors with delectable dining and a good wash down with a beverage always at the ready. Once again, she did not disappoint!
Our first point of call was at our accommodations for the evening. I’m not sure if it was blind luck alone that brought us to ‘Paternoster Place’ but whatever it was I am certainly grateful. As we were in a group we were given the option of three bedrooms, each with their own unique look and feel. My heart was drawn to the classic stylings of the room named ‘Amber’ and to what I later went on to describe as a ‘Jakartan-esque’ feel. We had our own little kitchen, a living room with a ‘comfortable enough to die for’ leather couch and an en-suite double room, all kitted out with antique furniture and finishings (I absolutely adore wood and brass and there was plenty of it in there!). The other rooms also had their own appeal but had much more modern attractions that sent me reeling back to that leather couch! We had our own little courtyard, complete with a Victorian bath and what can only be called an enormous fireplace. I was more at home here than in my actual home, it was great!
The wedding was due to kick off a short few hours after our arrival but the road in had got our tummies rumbling. We popped across the street to the little farmstall and coffee shop, ‘Oep ve Koep Bistro’. Inevitably we forwent any food and jumped straight on the holiday wagon with a Darling craft beer instead of the initial meal we had planned. That’s just what we seem to do at these family affairs… I was feeling brave and opted for the ‘Bone Crusher’ wit beer and it went down like a treat. My wedding party had officially begun.
The Paternoster Hotel played host to our family and friends as we sprawled across the lawn, encircling the pergola under which the future Mr and Mrs later tied the knot. With the ocean as a backdrop and only the slightest of breezes brushing our cheeks the ceremony went off without a hitch in a short, yet meaningful and sincere affair. The famous ‘panty bar’ kept the guests plied whilst the bride and groom headed off for sunset pictures in their wedding garb. Upon their return we headed inside for the festivities to get underway. Overall we had an amazing night (well, I speak for myself here really but I like to think I’m a good gauge of the fun-o-meter in a room…) and shimmied right through the night.
In the morning we gathered once more at the hotel restaurant to satiate the grumbling tummies that were still yearning for one last taste of the night before’s wedding chow! Fresh coffee in the system and a farmer’s breakfast to energise the soul and we were ready for the day once more. We kissed and hugged our way through the army of family members to get to the car and made our way down to the beach.
Paternoster’s main beach is a real feast for the eyes. The sand curls around the bay and hugs the lapping waters, interspersed with jutting rocks that douse the eyeline with interesting figures upon which to gaze. Of course, if there’s one thing almost every person with a camera will do in this town, it will be to snap a pic of the colourful fishing boats that lie dotted along the shore and call for you to come enjoy their local vibe. There are a few cute curio shops with everything from shells and crafts to sweets and ‘bokkoms’ hanging from the rafters.
After some time we headed for the Columbine nature reserve just a short distance outside of town and happened upon what came to be yet another highlighting feature of our stint in Paternoster. If there is one place I suggest you MUST go see whilst in town it is the Seekombuis outdoor restaurant. To sit in a converted fishing boat that now doubles as your table is truly something special and while you enjoy some of their home-made delicacies or another cold bevvy and take in the awesome view you can’t but help to feel renewed. This was one change I was glad to encounter!
Having spoiled ourselves and our senses in nearly every way imaginable we left the little seaside village with yet another great set of memories to share (as I have now done shortly with you). If you have not ticked this little beauty off your bucket list then you’d best get to it soonest, you definitely won’t regret it!