Paternoster – Paradise!

O my goodness, just saw the most exquisite photo of fishing boats on the beach at Paternoster, and was immediately inspired to post it!

History of Paternoster

This picturesque fishing town, 15km north-west of Vredenburg, is one of the oldest coastal towns along the West Coast and is famous for its crayfish. There are many white-washed fishermen’s cottages dotted along a long, white beach. In the town some of the atmosphere of a fishing community of a bygone era is preserved.

In spring many flower lovers stay here to visit the impressive Columbine nature Reserve just 3 km away. Tietiesbaai (made famous by Pieter Pieterse, a legend in South Africa for his comical portrayal and stories of the West Coast and all its inhabitants) forms part of the Columbine Nature Reserve and is frequented by campers and caravaners, especially in December.  Here one can rough it, by living virtually on top of the ocean, and it is only in recent years that ablution blocks were erected for the nature-lovers.

The Paternoster Bay can be quiet treacherous – one minute it is pure sunshine, and before you wipe your eyes, a thick mist rolls in, making it impossible to see more than a meter or two.  If you happen to be on a yacht anchored in the bay, best is to get out, as the current can drag you ashore.  With vuvuzela in hand, you need to blow every minute or two, to ward off the small fishing vessels who then return in a hurry.  A mystery still how those fishermen know just where to steer so they miss the big rocks separating the bay from the mad waves.  On a clear day, a paddle in canoes is exhillerating, but should not be attempted if you are a novice.  There are great guides to take you through the paces, enquire at the tourist centre in the small town.

The Paternoster Hotel hosts the Famous Panty Bar!  :

“…Our Famous Pub…

The unique and famous Pub, worldwide known as the Panty Bar, once served as a jail!

In 1974 Johan Carosini started the collection of “Honeymoon Panties”.
Unfortunately the collection had to be taken down in 1983 after a Clergyman reported it to the Police as an ‘unholy practice’.
…needless to say the policeman, who was responsible for the confiscation of the panties, was thereafter called “Panty’ Basson…

Giorello Carosini started ‘collecting’ again in the nineties – the collection is now more interesting than ever and still flourishing…”  Paternoster Hotel - Panty Bar

This is a must see for a good giggle, and one can spend hours just reading all the writings on every piece of writable surface and viewing all the artefacts, ranging from sexy undies to a huge fake penis in a bird cage!  Get the idea on

The Columbine Nature Reserve is about 16km from Vredenburg and 3km from Paternoster. The bay, which is part of the reserve, has many picnic spots and braai facilities. There are basic overnight facilities and ablution blocks.

Visit Cape Columbine, The last manned lighthouse built on the South African coast for more information about this fascinating light house and Paternoster.

The Lisboa wrecked on Soldiers Reef – Paternoster: On 23 October 1910, the Lisboa ran aground on Soldiers Reef near Paternoster. The wreck of the Lisboa is particularly interesting because it was the first occasion on the South African coast on which radio telegraphy was used to summon help by a ship in distress.

I quote below from a self-catering accomodation, and would urge all overseas visitors to Cape Town, to make the effort to spend a most marvellous weekend here:

“Mention the name Paternoster and images of whitewashed fisherman villages, big boulders and crayfish come to mind. It is no secret that Paternoster is a favourite week-end getaway for city dwellers.  The village is, after all, only 150km away from Cape Town and is easily accessible from Cape Town Airport.

Bekbaai is a secluded part of Paternoster, boasting a cove with boulders and views of the Cape Columbine light tower. Bekkie Self Catering is situated in Bekbaai, right on the beach. From here you can stroll along the beach in the direction of  Tietiesbaai,  or you can walk in the opposite direction through the colourful fishing village of Kliprug towards town, to buy a home baked bread at Oep ve Koep.

There is no bad time to visit Paternoster. Enjoy each season as it comes along.  Summer days are pure bliss and the azure colour of the sea is spectacular; winter days are beautiful with the sky the bluest of blues. Winter evenings can be spent in front of a fireplace, glass of sherry in hand.  Spring means flower time. Carpets of white and orange daisies are to be seen everywhere.

Bekkie offers stylish and comfortable accommodation. Attention to detail and Bekkie go hand in hand.  Here you can relax, have a braai on the balcony or sip a sundowner while enjoying the views. Bekkie’s kitchenette is equipped with all that is necessary, but why slave in the kitchen, if you can go restaurant-hopping in Paternoster?

Food lovers can satisfy their appetite at Gaaitjie (Cape slang for “little hole”),  Noisy Oyster, Voorstrandt or Blikkie Pizzeria to name but a few.  Hikers can explore the long coastline between Paternoster and St Helenabaai, or the rocky terrain of the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve.  Kayaking is a popular pastime and kayak tours are on offer in the bay in front of the fish market. Those with a keen eye for architecture will have plenty to look out for.  Stroll through the streets and pay a visit to the Stone Fish pottery studio. The Padstal is synonymous with Paternoster. Do not forget to take a picture in front of this attraction.

Watching the fishing “bakkies” dock with their daily catch of the day, is a sight not to be missed.  Snoek and crayfish can be bought fresh from the fishermen, but do practice your bargaining skills beforehand.  Listening to the West Coast Afrikaans of the locals will bring a smile to your face. At Mosselbank you can play a game of boule or go hunting for sea shells.

Paternoster is situated 15km away from Vredenburg.  The latter is regarded as the capital of these parts and most necessities are available.  From here a variety of tourist destinations spread out in all directions:  visit Langebaan and watch the kite surfers show off;  Saldanha and scenic Jacobsbaai are close by;  add to your list Rocher Nature Reserve, where bird species abound;  the West Coast National Park;  Lambert’s Bay, further up the coast and the West Coast Fossil Park, where fossils of creatures that roamed this land 5 million years ago can be seen.

Whether you want to explore the West Coast or simply chill out for a weekend, touch base at Bekkie.  You will not be disappointed.


GPS coordinates: 32o 48’36 20” S and 17o 53’01 54” E

Bekkie, 26 Sonkwas Road, Bekbaai, Paternoster

From Cape Town travel north on the R27.  Take the Vredenburg (R45) turn-off to the left. Drive through Vredenburg to Paternoster. On entering Paternoster, turn left into St. Augustine Road at the first fourway stop street.  Drive past the shop, the hotel, the lodge, the clinic, the church and the school. At Oppidraai, just after Blikkie Pizzeria and La Baleine,  turn right into Sonkwas Road.   No 26 is opposite the old cemetery.

From Cape Town International Airport take the N2 travelling towards Cape Town. Take  the N7 (Vanguard Drive/ Malmesbury/Goodwood) turn off. Turn right on the bridge towards  Malmesbury  and travel north.  Turn left at the Melkbosstrand turn off and continue towards  the R27. At the traffic lights, turn right onto the R27. Take the Vredenburg (R45) turn-off to the left. Drive through Vredenburg to Paternoster. On entering Paternoster, turn left into St. Augustine Road at the first fourway stop street.  Drive past the shop, the hotel, the lodge, the clinic, the church and the school. At Oppidraai, just after Blikkie Pizzeria and La Baleine,  turn right into Sonkwas Road.   No 26 is opposite the old cemetery.”

About suletta

Fell in love again at age 50! And followed my man to Zanzibar, for him to set up a dairy farm. I managed to travel into Africa a few times in my life, always loving it and experience the "fever" that grips you on African soil - the one that especially the Europeans now and in years gone by, suffer from. Except I am an African by birth - a South African. A Mzungu.So I discovered at this late stage in my life (not that I feel old!) that some people find my babblings about life interesting, and I quote: "live their lives vicariously through me".
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5 Responses to Paternoster – Paradise!

  1. adinparadise says:

    Thanks for the visit to my paradise post. That panty bar looks like good fun. What a pity about the prudish clergyman. 😦

  2. Dannie Hill says:

    It seems you are planning my trip to SA. I’m enjoying your tour and I do want to sail to South Africa

  3. myjoburgdays says:

    Lovely post, we travelled along the garden route during Easter this year. I loved it all. Drove 4 720 km from Johannesburg and back. Would like to do Franschoek and Stellenbosch soon.

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