A Coastal Pilgramage to Paternoster

Last updated: Oct 04, 2016

On this trip Drew stayed at the Nieuview Cottage and had an amazing time relaxing and rejuvenating. Go to their listing to make a booking for a wonderful weekend on the West Coast in Paternoster.

As we made our way past the last of the city's outlying suburbs the landscape transformed into a gently undulating emptiness. To the left I caught glimpses of the mighty Atlantic ocean, pounding the rocky coastline with relentless fervour. Its strength was only matched by the shoreline's fierce resilience.

The setting sun cast a hue of purple across the skies whilst the lingering light rays accentuated the earth's vibrant greenery. Purple and green, unlikely colours for a sunset but perhaps we were just being spoilt.

As the road passed beneath us at a steady pace, the city that stood in the mountain's shadow was long out of sight and further out of mind. Piercing through the darkness in a reflective silence, we pressed on to the quaint seaside town that would be our refuge for the weekend, Paternoster.

Whilst I may have been born with permanently itchy feet, it would be reasonable of me to say that this weekend escape was very much desired. The realities of living in South Africa were impressed upon us when both our jeep and our motorcycle were stolen within 24 hours of each other outside our Greenpoint home. Thankfully the motorcycle was recovered, but the shock, annoyance, anger and frustration had taken their emotional toll. The quaint, West Coast town of Paternoster would be our antidote to the maladies of urban living.

As we passed through the somewhat forgettable settlement of Vredenburg we were enveloped into darkness as the municipality's street light jurisdiction came to an end. After a longer-than-expected drive, we were wondering whether our journey would actually end. Suddenly, as though someone had heard the silent mutterings of our hearts, a light penetrated the midnight blue sky. The Cape Columbine Lighthouse, originally intended to ward off ships from dangerous shores was now beckoning us with a renewed vigour to reach our destination.

Waking up in a bath of sunlight, I felt like one of the kids from Narnia who had stepped through a cupboard and found themself in a magically foreign place. Our home for the night, the exquisite Langstrand house was perched on the edge of Paternoster. With the sweeping beach to our left and green meadows to our right we couldn't have asked for a better wake up surprise. There's always an excitement to arriving at a new place under the cover of darkness and getting a hint of what it could be like, only to wake up and find the reality of daylight far exceeds your initial perceptions.

Our first adventure was a walk through the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, a few kilometres beyond the town. A mere R14 gains you access to this rugged yet beautiful coastal reserve with a lighthouse situated on the top of the mound. This region is steeped in maritime history. Paternoster translates to 'Our Father' in Portuguese and derives it name from the prayers of shipwrecked sailors in years past. Beneath the turmultous Atlantic waters lie the countless remains of ships that met their demise on this unforgiving coastline. The Cape Columbine Lighthouse that sits in the centre of the reserve was built in 1936 and is the first South African lighthouse seen by ships approaching from the West and North. As the sun sinks beneath the horizon, the lighthouse sends out its beam into the darkness, warning mariners not to come near and reminding the rest of us of those who were less fortunate.

On our return back to our house we stopped at the famous Blikkie Pizzeria for lunch. In fitting with the West Coast seafood theme of the weekend we ordered the Paternoster pizza which was a delicious introduction to the West Coast cuisine albeit it with a slight Italian interpretation.

Due to a booking conflict, our second night was spent at the slightly more cosy, yet equally incredible Nieuview cottage, situated on the beachfront at the edge of the village. A lazy afternoon of reading, gazing into the fireplace and watching the Boks thump the Wallabies was a perfect way to relax.

For the big game we walked through the town to the Paternoster Lodge, where the famous Panty Bar was jam packed with fervent Bok supporters. We found a second screening around the back where a big screen illuminated the faces of glued supporters, sitting quietly in the dark shed. Behind us sat three local fisherman; I say fisherman, but to be honest I have no idea what they were. Their haggard faces suggested years out at sea under the harsh sun. One in particular was feeling very vocal regarding the Boks' performance although as hard as I tried, I couldn't understand a word he was slurring. For dinner we continued the seafood theme with a seafood curry from the charming Modo Mia and whilst I wasn't particularly hungry its aromatic flavours were fully appreciated.

As the day came to a close we opened the windows and allowed the sound of the ocean pounding against the rocks to soothe us to sleep. The air had just enough of a bite to warrant the use of the electric blankets. Our short time in Paternoster was nearly over but the little seaside town had done its job in rejuvenating our souls and in doing so had also crept into our hearts.

To make a booking for a weekend away in Paternoster at Nieuview, click here to make a booking for a wonderful weekend on the West Coast in Paternoster.