Continuing our West Coast journey from Cape Town along the Atlantic coastline, we are venturing along the path taken by Vasco De Gama back in 1497 and following in his footsteps to discover the beauty of Paternoster.
Heading north from our overnight stop at The Farmhouse Hotel, Langebaan, we follow the road out of town past the Fossil Park and on towards Vredenburg, a town which is rather more of a business hub for the area than of any particular interest for us traveller’s.
Instead of heading directly to Paternoster, take time to visit the Cape Columbine nature reserve, lying south west of the fishing village, where you will discover the breath-taking beauty and wildness that makes up this rocky coastline. Untouched by the momentum of human progression, the area is devoid of development with the Cape Columbine lighthouse being the only building.
If kayaking is your thing, then this is the place to be! Said to be some of the best kayaking available. The wealth of wildlife you are able to view close up is amazing. Getting up close to such sea creatures as the whales, seals and dolphins means that you get the ultimate close encounter without getting into the water!
From birdlife to marine life, you are sure to appreciate the peace and tranquility that Cape Columbine offers. Why not top it off with a visit to the lighthouse and view the spectacular vista out over the reef to the endless magnificence of the Atlantic Ocean?
Climb the spiral staircase to gaze out across the massive outcrop called Castle Rock and marvel that this obviously much needed saviour of lives did not get built until 1936.
From Cape Columbine it is only a short drive to the fishing village of Paternoster, given its name from the prayers of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors, meaning “Our Father”.
The first thing you will notice as you drive in, is the bright light reflecting off the white-washed stone buildings, the backdrop being the cobalt-blue sea and the long, white sandy beach which slopes gently into the ocean. It is as if time has stood still; the roundabout stopped for a moment to allow you to hop off and explore.
Watch the brightly coloured fishing boats landing their catch by pulling the boats straight onto the sands, selling their wares from the boats themselves. Or run your eye over the snoek drying in the sun, hung up in rows towards the back of the beach. Can there be any fresher produce on your barbeque or braai, as South African’s call them?
It is here that you can experience land based crayfishing, as well as by boat, along with diving and spear fishing excursions. If you are looking for something a little more rowdy, why not try a beach buggy trip?
One of my favourite pastimes in this part of the world, is watching the vast numbers of birds, including the Oystercatcher, Sacred Ibis and other small wading birds that scuttle along the waters edge, seemingly oblivious to your intrusion in their lives.
Do let us know your favourite places along the West Coast of South Africa and if this is your first introduction to this lovely part of the world, don’t forget to add it into your list of “must visit” places on your Cape Town holiday.
For more great ideas on what to do and see, we will be delighted to help you make the most of your Cape Town vacation and holiday time.