For the locals, life in Paternoster still revolves around the sea. Fishing is the historical lifeblood of the village and fishermen still go out almost every day in their colourful boats. For visitors, of course, there’s more variety. Here are 15 things to do in Paternoster on the West Coast of South Africa.
Look out for other flashes of humour too; they’re not hard to find. Like the car with the vanity licence plate declaring to any potential thieves, ‘DUS MYNE’ (this is mine).
2. See the Panty Bar at the Paternoster Hotel
The collection was removed in 1983 when a straight-laced dominee complained about the ‘unholy’ practice, but reinstated again in the 1990s. Local gossip has it that the hapless cop charged with removing them was forever called ‘Panty’ Basson by anyone who knew the story.
3. Visit the tourism office
Pop in at the Paternoster tourism office in Seeduiker Street at Die Kom, above where the fishing boats are beached, to find out more about the town, its history and things to do. ‘The best things to do here are walks on the beach and hiking in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve,’ Manerva Clarke told us. If you’re looking for directions, recommendations for a restaurant or even information on surrounding towns, this is the place to find them.
4. Visit the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve
5. Visit the Cape Columbine lighthouse
6. Go birding
Bird watching is good, with over 225 bird species in the area. Cape Columbine Nature Reserve is one of the best places at Paternoster to see a mix of land and sea birds.
7. See the spring flowers
8. Go whale-watching
If you’re observant, you may be able to spot some dolphins, seals, penguins or whales. Research has shown that a group of southern right whales stay in the historic feeding grounds off Paternoster, Cape Columbine, St Helena Bay and Saldanha Bay in summer instead of going back to the Southern Ocean to feed. Thanks to the Benguela current off the West Coast, the area offers year-round whale watching, although there are usually more in October and November. For more specific info call or sms the whale watch hotline on 079-3912105.
9. Walk on the beach
10. Go kayaking
Gecko Adventures rents out kayaks from a stand next to the tourism centre in Seeduiker Street. Go out beyond the breakers and drink in the fresh sea air. The area is also ideally suited to kite-surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving (not for beginners).
11. Get fish and chips on the beach
12. Shop at Die Winkel op Paternoster
13. Get arty
Stroll around the village and pop in to some of the local art and craft centres, potteries and galleries.
14. Eat, eat, eat!
15. Stay a night or two