Photo of Paternoster

About Paternoster

Set on a pink shoreline littered with granite boulders and multicoloured dinghies stands Paternoster, a charming fishing village and one of the oldest settlements on the West Coast. A favourite of the residents of Cape Town for a rural weekend away, it nestles quietly in an area of unspoilt natural beauty and is the ideal holiday destination for those wishing to escape the humdrum of the metropolis. From watching dolphins dance in the sea or hiking through nature reserves to enjoying a sumptuous meal at one of the town's many gourmet restaurants this is the perfect spot to come and unwind. Our pick of the best places to stay in Paternoster offer a little bit of luxury to ensure a truly relaxing break.

The name "Paternoster" derives from the Latin for "Our Father", allegedly used in the prayers of the Catholic Portuguese sailors who found themselves shipwrecked nearby. It is an exceedingly pretty town, full of arcane whitewashed fishermen cottages gazing out across gigantic grassy dunes and beaches strewn with blue oyster shells. The predominant economic activity in Paternoster is small-scale angling and crayfish netting, and therein lies the charm; in spite of being a bit of a tourist honeytrap all year round, she still retains its traditional aesthetic.

With fresh fish in abundance, Paternoster is also renowned for its fish and chips, best enjoyed perched high on a dune as you watch dolphins fly through the waters and the heads of lumbering whales float gently above the waves. The food in the town is incredible, particularly the seafood, and gourmet restaurants have cropped up in and around the town due to the superb produce.

An area of extraordinary and unrefined natural beauty, the town is a haven for lovers-of-nature. The Cape Colombian Nature Reserve is just a 5-minute drive away, with the gorgeous Bay of Tietiesbaai is the perfect place to go kayaking or surfing (it also boasts the last manned lighthouse in South Africa). The area is home to 250 species of bird, with seabirds like seagulls, oystercatchers and sacred ibis using the wide white sand beaches as their breeding ground.

If you are in Paternoster between July and September, you will be lucky enough to witness its annual transformation. After the first spring rain, the land undergoes a metamorphosis as bright and colourful flowers bloom and burst through the soil and sand. It is easy to see why artists find so much inspiration in this far-flung fishing village and these artworks can be viewed at the several galleries scattered around the town.

What not to miss:

  • The nature park: the Cape Colombian Nature Reserve is only 5 minutes away by car. At the Beach Camp, you can go kayaking or surfing in the Bay of Tietiesbaai. There are also some great hiking spots in this reserve too.
  • Dolphin and whale spotting: holidaymakers flock to Paternoster in droves every year to see the dolphins and whales swimming from the shoreline. It is a truly magnificent sight to see, and you can also hire out a boat and tour the waves in search of a closer inspection.
  • Bird-watching: there are over 250 species of birds in the area, and the town is beloved by birdwatchers, particularly during breeding season, when fleets of oystercatchers and seagulls descend upon the white sand beaches.
  • Restaurants: the town has some incredible restaurants. Whether you're looking for something hearty like fish and chips or something more gourmet like angelfish bobotie, Paternoster's got you covered.
  • Fossils: the West Coast Fossil Park is a must-see. Great for kids and adults alike, they offer guided tours of the dig sites. A truly fun and informative day out.

Due to its proximity to Cape Town the best places to stay in Paternoster do tend to get booked up fast so we advise you do your planning well in advance.

The best places to stay in Paternoster

For a chic boutique

  • Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel is nestled by the sea with 14 secluded whitewashed designer suites. This is a beautiful little hotel with a fabulous restaurant. Adult-only, it is ideal for couples looking for a romantic escape.

For a spa break

  • Abalone House & Spa is a fabulous 5* property with a sumptuous restaurant, spoiling spa, rooftop jacuzzi and 10 boutique suites. An incredibly relaxing, tranquil atmosphere.

For an apartment or villa

  • If you are looking for something self-catered then we recommend you browse through the available options on our partner's website which has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • The best time to go is between November and January, when the temperature averages at about 19 degrees. If you want to go when the flowers are blooming then plan your trip in July.
  • Roughly 145km from Cape Town, you should fly to Cape Town International Airport, from where you can take a bus to Paternoster or flag a taxi.
  • If you want to rent a car we recommend you contact our partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Paternoster

  • Hoekie B&B 4 rooms from £56


    Housed in a former fisherman's cottage, this intimate four-bedroom B&B is designed to be a coastal haven in which to relax and unwind. Sumptuous suites boast sea views, and you're but a few steps from the beach. Relax to the sound of the ocean with an outdoor massage. Adults only. Total relaxation.

    Beach Life  -  Stay in a traditional fisherman's cottage, right on the coast
    Great walks  -  Right on your front door, take a stroll along Paternoster beach
    Surfing  -  Bekbaai Beach is great for surfing and watersports
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only
    Check prices
  • Smugglers' Cottage 3 rooms from £59


    An idiosyncratic guesthouse offering antique filled, gently nautical themed accommodation, right on the Atlantic coastline. Guests are well looked after by caring owners and with just three rooms its an intimate stay. There's an outdoor pool, honesty bar, and a hearty breakfast served each morning.

    Beach Life  -  A great family stay, right on the beach, with nautical rooms and plenty of watersports on offer
    Sights nearby  -  A little further along Paternoster Main Beach is lined with bars and eateries
    Surfing  -  A popular surfing spot, the nearby Bekbaai Beach
    Great walks  -  Along Bekbaai Beach
    Check prices
  • Paternoster Dunes Boutique Guest House 7 rooms from £100


    Sleek stay with unrivalled sea views, right on Paternoster's main beach. Nautical chic cottages provide homely accommodation with a hearty breakfast and sumptuous afternoon tea. You're walking distance from the Western Coast's rugged coastline and this sleepy fishing town's attractions.

    Beach Life  -  The ultimate traditional stay, in this quiet fishing village
    Sights nearby  -  You're walking distance from Paternoster's quaint bars and restuarants
    Great walks  -  Columbine Nature Reserve is just 3 km away
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above the age of 12 are welcome
    Check prices
  • Oystercatcher’s Haven 4 rooms from £115


    Delightful, intimate, and family run guest house, within a stone's throw of the main Paternoster Beach. Outdoor activities and watersports abound and you're walking distance from the town's bars and restaurants. Quaint and quirky rooms are filled with antiques and curious and boast sea views.

    Beach Life  -  Quaint, nautical inspired stay, moments from Paternoster beach
    Great walks  -  Columbine Nature Reserve is just 2.5 km away
    Surfing  -  Paternoster is known for its surfing spots
    Restrictions on children  -  Children above the age of 12 are welcome
    Check prices
  • Linhof Boutique Guest House 6 rooms from £117


    Smart, modern, guesthouse with airy suites boasting sea views. Rooms are decorated in charcoal greys, sumptuous throws, and contemporary art. A hearty breakfast is served each morning, and you're moments from the beach and just a short walk from the restaurants of Paternoster.

    Beach Life  -  A very chic guest house situated right along the beach
    Sights nearby  -  Paternoster Main Beach, and its bars and restaurants is a short stroll away
    Surfing  -  Bekbaai Beach is a great spot for watersports and surfing
    Great walks  -  Sunset strolls on Bekbaai Beach
    Check prices
  • Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel 14 rooms from £145


    A coastal hotel comprising of just 14 secluded suites all boasting spectacular sea views. Design has been kept simple with white washed walls, cleanly designed furniture and luxurious bathrooms. Staff are ever helpful, the cuisine delicious and wine collection excellent. A chic escape.

    Total relaxation  -  A coastal property designed for simply unwinding.
    Great walks  -  Take long walks along the miles of stunning beaches.
    Kayaking  -  Take out a kayak and visit the penguin colony.
    Restrictions on children  -  Adult only.
    Check prices
  • Abalone House & Spa 10 rooms from £370

    Paternoster (Bek Bay)

    Abalone House & Spa is located in the coastal village of Paternoster, Western Cape. This 5* property offers ten boutique suites with some boasting splendid sea views. Enjoy scrumptious meals at the Reuben restaurant or a bottle of champagne in the rooftop jacuzzi! Wonderfully romantic.

    Romantic Break  -  Abalone House & Spa offers luxurious accommodation, gorgeous sea views and a quiet atmosphere-ideal for a romantic getaway
    Total relaxation  -  Take advantage of their extensive spa treatments and bask in the fresh sea air
    Great walks  -  Wander along Paternoster beach at sunset and take in the incredible views
    Birdwatching  -  There are over 200 species of birds in Abalone House's surounding area!
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
    Check prices