Paternoster Uncovered: The Ultimate Traveller’s Guide

Paternoster Uncovered: The Ultimate Traveller’s Guide

This tranquil West Coast fishing village – famous for bounteous fresh seafood and a Greek Island-like setting – has loads going for it.

An endless coastline of white-sand beaches; rows of whitewashed fishing cottages; a daily flotilla of weather-worn fishing boats lugging bounteous hauls of fresh seafood. Welcome to Paternoster – low-key West Coast village and lynchpin of the South African fishing industry.

The name – “Our Father” in Latin – was supposedly derived from the prayers of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors, many of whom chose to remain in the Cape rather than return home to Europe. Centuries later, the beauty of the West Coast continues to enchant, though there are now safer ways of reaching it than being washed ashore.

Its coastal setting aside, Paternoster’s attractions include its pristine white-sand beaches; dolphin- and whale-watching; a blooming nature reserve; notable heritage sites (including the country’s only remaining manually controlled lighthouse at Cape Columbine); and an ever-expanding array of restaurants, featuring 2019’s Restaurant of the Year: Wolfgat.

With so much to offer, it’s no wonder Paternoster is a sought-after weekend destination for travellers seeking a varied getaway close to Cape Town. Here are our picks of where to sleep, eat and play in this West Coast hotspot.

Do you know of any Paternoster favourites we should earmark? Let us know in the comments below.

Explore Paternoster

Places to stay in Paternoster
Restaurants in Paternoster
Things to do in Paternoster

Places to stay in Paternoster

Gelukkie

Gelukkie Paternoster
Gelukkie House Paternoster
Gelukkie Kitchen Paternoster

The saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover” comes to mind when pulling up outside the wrought-iron gates of this hideaway – located just before the central entrance to Paternoster. What might appear like an unassuming private property soon opens up to reveal an oasis of quaint beach-house inspired cottages, where lush plants, water features, stunning outdoor decor, and passionate hosts, Ruth and Andrew (and their friendly pooches), await.
The lodgings Guests have the option of staying in either the Klein Gelukkie or Nog ‘n Gelukkie self-catering cottages, both of which feature a king-sized bed, en-suite bathroom with a shower, a well-equipped kitchen, walk-in closet, dining area, lounge with a fireplace, and a private outdoor garden with a braai. Both units sleep two guests, and have been lovingly decorated by both their owners. Whether you lounge out on a daybed with a good book, or sit around the fire with a freshly made G&T as you get to know your hosts, this hidden gem is the ideal spot for a romantic couples retreat.
Child friendly? No
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R1 200 per cottage per night (depending on season)
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT
Where to find it Farm 31, Seemeeu Crescent, Pelgrimsrust, Paternoster, Western Cape

Linhof Boutique Guest House

Linhof Paternoster
Linhof Patio Paternoster
Linhof Lounge Paternoster

Located in the newly developed area of Bek Bay, overlooking the untouched fynbos and crashing waves of the Columbine Nature Reserve coastline and the Cape Columbine Lighthouse, this stylish boutique guesthouse offers comfortable seaside lodgings with lashings of modern luxury.
The lodgings The guesthouse features six en-suite bedrooms with satellite TV, a mini fridge, tea- and coffee-making facilities, an in-room safe, and complimentary wi-fi. Fve of the bedrooms also boast their own view-drenched private patio, overlooking the ocean and white-sand beach below – which guests have direct access to via a private boardwalk. A complimentary breakfast is served each morning in the sun-kissed breakfast room, while the spacious indoor lounge and fireplace is the perfect place to unwind with a good book and a glass of red wine. There’s also an outdoor seating area for soaking up the sea breeze.
Child friendly? No
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R1 800 per night per couple sharing (depending on season)
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT
Where to find it 12 Sonkwas Street, Bek Bay, Paternoster, Western Cape

Sugar Shack

Sugar Shack Patio Paternoster
Sugar Shack Paternoster
Sugar Shack Lounge Paternoster

This quaint self-catering guesthouse, built in the style of a fisherman’s cottage, oozes rustic charm with its ocean-themed decor and simple, architectural lines – offering laidback West Coast living at its best.
The lodgings The relaxed interior features three bedrooms, an open-plan gourmet kitchen, complete with Kitchen Aid equipment and Le Creuset pots, and a spacious lounge with an indoor fireplace. The house lends itself to long afternoons spent playing board games, whilst upstairs, a sunny deck overlooking the rocky shoreline is the perfect spot to tuck into a seafood feast while gazing at the turquoise horizon.
The covered verandah and braai area, that overlooks a small olive tree garden, keeps the West Coast wind at bay, allowing for easy year-round entertaining. There’s also an outdoor shower with hot water, and a hammock, perfect for nodding off to the sounds of the sea after a leisurely lunch. The house is also completely fenced with security beams, and has secure parking for two vehicles.
Child friendly? Yes
Pet friendly? Yes
Cost From R3 300 per night (depending on season, exclusive-use only)
Enquire Now
Where to find it 3 St Augustine Road, Paternoster, Western Cape

De Linden Boutique Guest House

De Linden Boutique Lounge Paternoster
De Linden Boutique Paternoster
De Linden Boutique Outdoors Paternoster

Mere minutes from Paternoster’s pristine beach, in the heart of the sleepy fisherman’s village, De Linden Boutique Guest House is every weary traveller’s dream.
The lodgings The nautical-themed decor – carried through all seven en-suite bedrooms, as well as the lounge and dining area, of this two-storey home – echoes its calming, seaside setting. The two outside lounges have fireplaces – perfect for sunset drinks, while the sea-facing balcony upstairs has “sundowner sessions” written all over it. Guests will also have access to tea- and coffee-making facilities, and a complimentary breakfast served each morning.
Child friendly? No
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R1 300 per couple sharing per night (depending on season)
CHECK AVAILABILITY + BOOK DIRECT
Where to find it De Linden Boutique Guesthouse, 93 Mosselbank Street, Paternoster

Le Chaim House

Le Chaim House Patio Paternoster
Le Chaim House Paternoster
Le Chaim House Bedroom Paternoster

Rustic charm meets contemporary beach-house living at this three-bedroom home perched on a quiet slice of Paternoster shoreline. The wild waves on your doorstep, coupled with spacious interiors and a sought-after sense of privacy, make this self-catering spot a wonderful choice for a group getaway with family or friends.
The lodgings The house sleeps six in three en-suite bedrooms: two with queen-size beds, plus a beautiful master suite boasting a king-size bed, private library, bathroom, working desk, lounge area, and sweeping sea views through sliding glass doors leading to a small private outdoor patio. The home also features a fully equipped open-plan kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining areas, two spacious lounges with indoor fireplaces, and a covered outdoor patio with a braai overlooking the ocean.
Good to know The property also features a separate two-bedroom cottage that can be booked out on a private basis, or used in conjunction with the main house in order to sleep eight.
Child friendly? Yes, by prior arrangement only
Pet friendly? No
Cost From R3 350 per night (depending on season, exclusive-use only)
Enquire Now
Where to find it Sonkwas Street, Bek Bay, Paternoster, Western Cape

Restaurants in Paternoster

Wolfgat

Wolfgat Paternoster
It’s no wonder that this pocket-sized restaurant on the West Coast town of Paternoster was named the Best Restaurant in the World at The World Restaurant Awards in Paris in February 2019. Situated in a charming revamped fisherman’s cottage on the coastline, the intimate, 20-seater eatery offers a one-of-a-kind experience, where diners get to witness firsthand the passion and devotion of chef and feted forager Kobus van der Merwe.
While deliciousness is a given, it’s the innovative techniques, commitment to sustainable practices, and selection of locally sourced ingredients (most of which are foraged from Paternoster itself) that make this experience so extraordinary.
Opening times Wednesday – Saturday, 12.30pm
Friday – Saturday, 6.30pm
Sunday, 12pm
Contact diewolfgat@gmail.com
Please note Reservations can only be made online; booking is essential.
Book through DinePlan
Where to find it 10 Sampson Street, Paternoster, Western Cape

Leeto

Leeto Paternoster
This authentic West Coast eatery, with a fresh, seasonal menu and prime atmosphere true to its fishing-village setting, is an absolute must when visiting Paternoster. The magnificent location, with unforgettable sea views, sets the tone for the delectable food that is created there by renowned Chef, Garth Almazan. Having served 15 years as executive chef at Catharina’s Restaurant on Steenberg Farm, Cape Town-born Garth n moved to this quiet village to open Leeto in March 2018. The restaurant is housed within the five-star Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, and serves everything from sumptuous organic-inspired breakfasts, to delectable light and healthy lunches, and dinners that reflect the finest offerings of the area. The food is prepared in a simple, fuss-free manner, with subtle sophistication and finesse, and boasts a strong emphasis on local, homemade, and seasonal ingredients using the treasures of the ocean and the surrounding region.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12.30pm – 10pm
Contact 060 927 0403, reservations@leetopaternoster.co.za
Where to find it Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel, Patterson Slot, Paternoster, Western Cape

The Noisy Oyster

The Noisy Oyster Paternoster
Paternoster Villas

A Paternoster stalwart (established in 2006), this lively seafood-inspired restaurant is always abuzz with locals and travellers seeking a taste of small town charm and superb food. The colourful eclectic decor follows through to a secluded garden dotted with tables at the back of the restaurant,  where roaring fires, fairy lights and quirky sayings written on blackboards create a decidedly festive atmosphere – with friendly, informative staff enhancing the experience. The Mediterranean-inspired menu features plenty of seafood and meat dishes, and even some vegetarian options. There’s also an extensive winelist, and an assortment of beers (including Paternoster pilsner on tap), cocktails and soft drinks. It’s the kind of place you can spend hours at, enjoying a lazy lunch or laidback dinner with family and friends in a relaxed, happy atmosphere.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
Wednesday – Saturday, 6pm – 9pm
Contact 022 752 2196, noisyoysterpaternoster@gmail.com
Where to find it 62 St Augustine Road, Paternoster, Western Cape

Oep ve Koep

Oep ve Koep Paternoster
Stay in Paternoster

The little sister of Kobus van der Merwe’s Wolfgat, Oep ve Koep boasts a decidedly Tea Garden-like atmosphere, and serves lovely, light bistro-style fare in a laid-back setting with a . Located inside the quaint Die Winkel shop, leading out to a charming shaded courtyard, the bistro serves a four-course Strandveld food menu, pioneered by Kobus van der Merwe, and is headed by passionate chef Adél Hughes who focuses on simple, contemporary cooking inspired by the surrounds. Dishes on the four-course menu alternate daily, but exceptional taste and fabulous flavours are a constant. Cosy up inside the lovely interior near the fireplace during winter, or soak up the warm air on the verandah during summer.
Opening times Breakfast: Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 10.30am
Lunch: Wednesday – Saturday, 12.30pm – 3pm; Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm
Contact 022 752 2105, oepvekoep@gmail.com
Please note the bistro requires online booking only.
Visit www.wolfgat.co.za or www.oepvekoep.co.za to make a reservation.
Where to find it St Augustine Road, Paternoster, Western Cape

Gaaitjie

Gaaitjie Paternoster
For a country with such a large coastline, it’s surprising how few seafood restaurants are to be found on the shore. Where you can literally swing open a door and step onto a sandy beach, while your little ones play safely a few metres away… One such place is Gaaitjie. Situated in an unpretentious whitewashed former fisherman’s cottage, overlooking the tiny working harbour and sweeping views of the rocks, pristine white-sand beach and the bay beyond, this casual eatery is a Paternoster favourite. But don’t let the barefoot-beach vibe of fool you, there’s loads of fresh fish and sumptuous seafood to be had, and a seriously impressive winelist to be explored!
Opening times Thursday – Monday, 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 10pm
Contact 022 752 2242, reservations@gaaitjie.co.za
Where to find it Off Sampson Street, Paternoster, Western Cape

Things to do in Paternoster

Kayaking

Kayaking Paternoster
Soak up the stunning surrounds from the ocean aboard a kayak during one of these fun-filled guided trips. Paddle from the popular Crayfish Wharf past the main beach and out to sea, towards penguins, dolphins and seals, with the occasional whale sighting during season. Host Danie Breytenbach is on hand to ensure your trip is nothing short of wonderful! Tours are available for children over the age of nine, and last around 1.5 hours.
Cost R250 per person
Contact 083 795 4198, kayak.adventures@outlook.com
Where to find it St Augustine Road, Paternoster, Western Cape

Beach Buggy Rides

Beach Buggy Rides Paternoster
Adventure seekers will be in their element during these fun, carefree beach-buggy rides along the Paternoster coastline. Soar through the sand dunes toward Duiker Island in a homemade buggy alongside experienced guide, Deon Van Schalkwyk, as you appreciate the breathtaking views of the wild West Coast peninsula. Keep your eyes peeled, because you may catch a glimpse of playful dolphins and whales in the ocean, or duiker, steenbok, secretary birds, tortoises, and even snakes. The tailor-made tours last approximately two hours, and depart from Farr Out Guesthouse at the outskirts of the village, where Deon will provide a background on the history of the small fishing village before you set off.
Cost R350 per person
R600 per trip (for a single person)
Please note the maximum amount of passengers per trip is three people (or 220kg)
Contact 072 402 1829, 022 752 2222, info@farrout.co.za
Where to find it 17 Seemeeu Crescent, Paternoster, Western Cape

Paternoster Art Route

Paternoster Art Route Paternoster
The small seaside village is swimming in creativity, evident in the plethora of galleries and curio shops promoting local talent and quirky antiques. Our advice? Start from the top and work your way down! Walk the Art Route and meet artists from the following galleries: Ceramic Works, SINABA Art Studio, At Botha Gallery, Magda Art, Gallery Lux Aeterna, Stone Fish Studio and Gallery – all within walking distance from each other –  before popping in for a browse at Junk and Disorderly, or Jem & Pantoffels for some rare finds.
Contact 082 570 8334
Where to find it St Augustine Road, Paternoster, Western Cape

Horse-riding

Horse Riding Paternoster
Feel the sea breeze in your hair as you canter along Mosselbank Strand beach on horseback. Welcoming guide Ronel Basson, from Drikus Horse Trails, takes guests on daily rides along the scenic coast, where everyone – from beginners to experienced riders – is welcome. A maximum of seven people can be accommodated per hour trip, and an experienced guide is on hand should you need assistance, which you won’t, as the horses are relaxed and friendly.
Cost R350 per person (for a 1 hour ride)
Contact 082 748 5596, bassonr@telkomsa.net
Where to find it Swartrug Farm, Paternoster, Western Cape

Artisanal leather workshops

Artisanal Leather Workshops Paternoster
Founded by passionate entrepreneur Erika Vermaak, Mattat is an artisanal leather store at Paternoster’s bustling Crayfish Wharf, selling a selection of quality, handcrafted leather goods. In addition to being a source of community training and upskilling, the establishment also offers a handful of fun, creative workshops where you can learn how to make your own belts and handbags, while interacting with a wonderful group of people.
Cost Half-day leather workshop: R850 for 4 hours
Full-day leather workshop: R1 850 for 8 hours
Three-day leather workshop: R5 500 for 3 days
Contact 082 853 9472, mattat.leather@gmail.com
Where to find it Kreefte Street, Kliprug, Paternoster, Western Cape

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Research by Kent Cloete, Michelle de Bruin, Nikki Benatar

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 07 August 2019

5 Responses to “Paternoster Uncovered: The Ultimate Traveller’s Guide”

  1. Avatar

    James

    We used to at least once a month to what used to be a safe and tranquil haven, Paternoster. It is important for readers to know that break ins to both holiday cottages and cars parked outside your cottage, has skyrocketed. One couple were broken into on the Friday, asked to be moved to another rental with their remaining belongings, and on moving were robbed again on the Saturday. We have been victim to our car being broken into with smashed windows, making for a cold drive home. This is a charming village with beautiful beaches, but make sure you have an alarm in your cottage and your car is parked in a secure parking.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Letisia

    Will love to know more about Paternoster and the West Coast as we love the place 💕

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Erica Ehlers

    Want to visit Paternoster

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    Jacinta Avontuur

    How can you forget Voorstrand restaurant right on the beach? We visit every year and that is the first restaurant we go to.

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      The Inside Guide

      Jacinta, thanks for your comment. We did not forget Voorstrand – we know it well, and have enjoyed a lovely meal there in the past. In this post, we limited the number of places in each section to five, which meant Voorstrand did not make the cut this time around.

      Reply