Capetonians are lucky for several reasons... scenic splendour, rich history and vibrant culture. Personally I would include the variety of quick day-trip escapes to the list. With a little petrol and whole day ahead of you, the world of the West Coast begs to be discovered.
Top of my list is Paternoster. One of South Africa’s last remaining traditional fishing villages, Paternoster is quaint without being cutesy and romantic, without trying too hard. Paternoster, although much changed in the modern world, remains closely associated with fishing and the sea. Brightly painted fishing boats line the beach and fishermen sell crayfish, or kreef as it’s known, from roadside intersections.
Although development has accelerated over the last few years, the houses are all whitewashed, and coupled with the stark island-like beauty of the landscape make up for most of Paternoster’s personality. In the town some of the atmosphere of a fishing community of a bygone era is preserved
The Paternoster hotel remains unchanged. Originally built in 1863, it was turned into a hotel by the Tollman family in 1940 and additional rooms were added. Nowadays, the establishment offers ten sea-view rooms and a fabulous restaurant. It is also famous for the Panty Bar which served as the local jail at one time.
Paternoster was named after The Lord’s Prayer which is also known as the prayer of Our Father or Pater Noster. It is the prayer of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors. On the 23 October 1910, the Lisboa ran aground at Sailor’s Reef, just off the coast of Paternoster. Interestingly, the Lisboa is the first recorded occasion on the South African coast in which radio telegraphy was used to summon help by a ship in distress.
Paternoster offers a variety of attractions. Whales and dolphins visit these waters for ten months of the year. Wherever you are in Paternoster you are afforded a spectacular view of these playful creatures.
In spring many flower lovers stay in Paternoster to visit the Columbine nature Reserve just 3 km away. After the season’s first rains the earth is transformed into bursts of colour by the millions of indigenous flowers. This usually takes place between July and September.
Tietiesbaai (made famous by Pieter Pieterse) forms part of the Columbine Nature Reserve and is a popular camping and caravan spot for December visitors.
Visit the Cape Columbine lighthouse, which is the last remaining manned lighthouse built on the South African coast.
Sea kayaking, whale-watching, penguin-spotting, long walks on sandy white beaches or among the ancient boulders, Paternoster offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life all-year-round and is only 90 minutes from Cape Town!
WEST COAST SNOEK BRAAI
Here is a typical West Coast recipe for mouth-watering fresh snoek made on the braai.
Take one fresh snoek and drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
To make the basting, mix a few tablespoons of apricot jam with the juice of two lemons and a handful of finely chopped garlic cloves. Gently heat the mixture before basting the snoek.
Make a foil base for the fire. Place the fish skin side down and baste regularly with the apricot mixture. When the flesh turns white and starts to bubble, the snoek is ready.
Serve with a baked sweet potato or bread with butter and jam! It’s lip-smacking!