Information and history

ID #5270

Paternoster, West Coast, Western Cape, South Africa.

A village where past and present meet. A village that was named after a prayer -- apparently Portuguese sailors who were shipwrecked here prayed that they might one day see their homes again. The prayer began: “Patre Nostre” which means “Our Father” in Latin. This picturesque village is one of the oldest towns on the West Coast, with strong fisherman-influenced architecture. Stroll along 8-km of unspoiled white beach while enjoying the majesty of the ocean, the countryside and the quaint little white cottages – the perfect getaway.

As the first sight of land to be spotted by ships arriving from Europe, the lighthouse is situated at Tietiesbaai (Cape Columbine Nature Reserve) 5-km from Paternoster. Cape Columbine, commissioned in 1936 derives its name from the barque Columbine which shipwrecked there in 1829 during a voyage from London to New South Wales in Australia. In 1899 the SS Ismore, a British troopship, went ashore near Kraletjies Bay. Glass beads still wash ashore from the wreck. In 1910 the Lisboa steamship ran aground on Soldier’s Reef nearby carrying a cargo of bulls, olive oil and wine. In 1930 the SS Malmesbury was wrecked near Jacobs Reef while on her maiden voyage. Nine people drowned when one of the lifeboats was launched too hastily, causing one of the lifeboat davits to break.

Paternoster is a fisherman’s haven on the West coast with the Atlantic Ocean providing an abundance of crayfish, snoek, geelbek, galjoen, white steenbras, Hottentot, kingklip, and white and black mussels. White mussels are plentiful in the shallows but tend to move about. Watch the oystercatchers if you want sound advice as to where to find them. Crayfish is available from locals in season (November through January). Visit their boats on the beach as they arrive back from their morning’s fishing. Mammals include mongoose, wild cat, grysbok, duiker, steenbok, foxes, porcupine and the occasional strandwolf. Be on the lookout for our reptiles -- tortoise are often seen crossing the roads. Seabirds such as oystercatchers use the area up to Elandsbaai (Elands Bay) as their breeding ground. With over 250 species spotted, Paternoster is a birdwatchers paradise, including the spotted eagle owl. Whales and dolphins are regular visitors between March and November. The best time to visit Paternoster to see the wildflowers is from August through October. The Paternoster Froelang (Romulea barkerae) is a rare plant endemic to the area. Other species include the Groen Agretjie, the Bokbaai Vygie, Pienk Lewertjie and Krulblaar Gousblom. 1200 plants are indigenous to the area. There are spectacular hikes along the scenic coastline. Local fishermen claim there is a cave which is 5-km long that ends in Varswater Bay where famous and protected Khoi-San paintings can be seen. Hiking: Tietiesbaai to Swartriet +-17 km. Paternoster to Stompneusbaai +-30 km.

Accommodation includes:

o Die Opstal Self-catering Units: email  and Web
o Paljas Self-Catering Villa: St Augustine Road. Email and
o Blue Dolphin B&B and Self-catering: Warrelklip Road email George Koning at and web
o Hoekie Gastehaus/Guesthouse contact Ingrid Wessalowski at and
o Cape Columbine Lighthouse Experience: Visiting hours Monday-Friday from 10h00 through 15h00 (May through September) and Monday-Sunday from 10h00 through 15h00 (October through April). Email o Paternoster Self-catering Accommodation: Contact Lyndre van Niekerk at and
o Farr Out B&B: German. English and Afrikaans spoken. Contact Marion Lubitz or Deon van Schalkwyk at  o Voorstrandt Restaurant: Quaint beach restaurant in a 108-year-old fisherman’s cottage overlooking endless unspoiled beaches. Booking essential email
o La Baleine Luxury Fisherman Houses: Korteslot, Paternoster

o Camping in Cape Columbine Nature Reserve: It consists mainly of strandveld, a combination of coastal fynbos and succulents interspersed with rocky outcrops. The area is well worth a visit in spring. There are 2 self-catering cottages at the lighthouse, each of which can accommodate 8 persons. A conference facility is available that caters for up to 20 people, and a backpackers lodge with accommodation for six. Tietiesbaai (Tieties Bay) is a popular camping area with beautiful beaches and fynbos that is covered with flowers in spring. email and
o West Coast Bird Club: +27 (22) 742 1944
o Saldanha Bay Tourism Bureau: and

Paternoster is on the West Coast northwest of Vredenburg, which is on the R45 northwest of Malmesbury, which is on the N7 north of Cape Town, which is at the intersection of the N7 with the N1 and the N2. Travel north on the R27 along the coast from Cape Town or via Malmesbury.



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Last update: 2014-02-28 16:03
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.8

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