A joy for ever

Paternoster, West Coast
Paternoster sets the bar high in terms of character and beauty – a dream combination of white sands, turquoise waters and whitewashed cottages.

A world away from everything else lies Paternoster, 15km north-west of Vredenburg – one of the oldest West Coast fishing villages. Huge weathered rocks bookending the kilometres-long stretch of white sand at Mosselbank and the boats lining Bekbaai are magnificent sights during the day, but nothing captures the essence of Paternoster like watching the sunset melting into the sea.

With commanding views in every direction, a laid-back lifestyle, good restaurants aplenty, as well as many water- and land-based activities, it’s no wonder the village is a tourist magnet.

Greeted by informal fishermen selling lobsters on arrival, you just know you’re in seafood country. The town itself has a lobster factory and a newly erected kabeljou farm, while the locals catch and sell herring and bokkoms, or draw mussels from the rocks. In the greater area are several commercial activities, including deep-sea fishing and abalone farming. This was also the place where the first Redro factory was erected by the Stephan family in the 1930s.

Because the town’s name means ‘Our Father’ in Latin, many believe that the name refers to prayers said by shipwrecked Catholic Portuguese seamen. Others believe it refers to the Khoi tribe’s beads, called Paternosters.

The town’s 1 883 inhabitants are resourceful and the many quaint establishments bear witness to this. At Salon Le Notre Père, Hennie cuts and styles hair until he’s finished or tired (whichever occurs first). Then there are gift and coffee shop Jêm & Pantoffels, Patina Bazaar for imported French and English antique furniture, At Botha Art Gallery and Stone Fish Studio – to name but a few.

Paternoster needs no enhancements – it’s pure beach utopia.