The West Coast is where time moves slowly and days are spent combing windswept beaches and enjoying bountiful feasts of seafood. Its irresistible allure – of ocean and salt, whitewashed walls and the scent of woodsmoke – is what keeps people coming back year after year.
It’s a coastline that captures the imagination: from the first glimpse of the Aegean-blue Langebaan Lagoon from the R27 highway to Velddrif’s flamingo-flecked saltpans and the colourful fishing boats returning with their catch in Paternoster. It’s also not a place of citified convenience, nor is there a concern for the opinions of outsiders – the West Coast is unapologetically real, unpretentious and unfiltered. For the visitor, the area opens up a series of evocative experiences that will spark an unshakeable desire to return.
Setting foot in Paternoster is like going back in time. One of the oldest villages in the area, it is still home to numerous fishing families – generations later. It’s a beacon for travellers; the cluster of whitewashed cottages makes it one of the most photographed towns on the West Coast, and the burgeoning foodie scene is drawing new fans.
Needing little introduction, the award-winning restaurant and chef-patron Kobus van der Merwe epitomise the West Coast dream. Having adopted a unique approach to the region’s food, his cuisine is a mix of foraged botanicals, local ingredients and just-caught seafood. Recipes pay homage to Khoi-San hunter-gatherers, Cape Malay and Afrikaner fare – all combining to create the chef’s signature Strandveld style of cuisine. While the wait for a reservation is lengthy, the experience is a lasting one.
Good to know Pop in at Kobus’s charming shop/farmstall, Oep ve Koep (corner of St Augustine Road and R45) – it has a little eatery in the garden for light meals from the bakery, and a bistro serving a 3-course Strandveld set lunch menu (same times as Wolfgat).
Opening times Wednesday – Saturday, 12.30pm; Sunday, 12pm
Friday + Saturday, 7pm
Oep ve Koep: Monday – Saturday, 9am – 4pm; Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Oep ve Koep: 072 741 3709
Where to find it 10 Sampson Street, Kliprug, Paternoster
If you’re after fish and chips with a fantastic view, look no further than this popular spot. Housed in a century-old building with an iconic red tin roof, right on the beach, the restaurant serves up the catch of the day alongside West Coast classics – thee smoked snoek samoosas with a secret sauce are a particular highlight. Sit seaside and enjoy a glass of local wine, or kick off your shoes and stroll down to the ocean while you wait for your food to arrive.
Saturday + Sunday, 11am – 9pm
Contact 022 752 2038, email@example.com
Where to find it Strandloper Street, Voorstrand, Paternoster
Cape Columbine Nature Reserve
Whether you’d like to fire up a lunchtime braai, pitch a tent or simply take in the scenery, Cape Columbine offers a 263-hectare stretch of untouched rocky coastline to the south of Paternoster that includes hiking trails and multiple sheltered coves ideal for kayaking or taking a dip (if you can handle the chilly water). A walk to the only manned lighthouse in SA may be rewarded with a guided tour of the interior – and simply stunning views from 80 metres up. FYI: This is the furthest west you can get in the country.
Opening times Daily, 7am – 7pm
Lighthouse: Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm
Contact 022 752 2718, firstname.lastname@example.org
021 449 2400, email@example.com
Where to find it Off St Augustine Road, 5km south of Paternoster
Fringed by beautiful holiday homes, Britannia Bay is a great getaway destination that’s the right kind of remote. This stretch of coastline 20km north-east of Paternoster is known as the “Golden Mile”, and it truly lives up to its name. Powdery soft, pristine white sand and bracing seascapes make walks here a blissful experience. For a sweet reward, visit Lammies Bakery (newly arrived from Cape Town), or treat yourself to a facial and lunch at The Shelley Point Hotel & Spa (the next headland east of Britannia Bay), then explore nearby St Helena Bay’s harbour and myriad coves.
Contact 022 742 1065, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Follow Stompneusbaai Road out of Paternoster
Beach at the end of Ecklonia Street, Britannia Bay
Lammies Bakery: 7 Watsonia Street, Britannia Bay
Shelley Point Hotel: Golden Mile Boulevard, Shelley Point
Weskus Spens PadstalEn route to Paternoster, just before the Vredenburg/Paternoster turnoff on the R27, this farmstall is famous for its all-day breakfast, delicious preserves and proper plaasbrood (farm bread) made in a wood-burning Dover oven. Run by Annemarie Thom, who bakes all kinds of treats to tempt locals, it’s the loaves that sell out fast. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, enjoy it with some snoek pâté or butter and konfyt ( jam). If you explore the menu further, you can try out traditional foods like bobotie, mutton tripe curry, homemade pies and snoek fishcakes, plus you can get breakfast.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 8.15am – 4.30pm
Contact 022 715 4400, email@example.com
Where to find it R27, driving from Langebaan to Paternoster and Velddrif
WHERE TO STAY
Strandloper Ocean Boutique HotelOf the 16 rooms at this sea-scraping luxury hotel, ask for an Ocean Suite. If they’re all taken, the Nature Suites are also fabulous – bigger, with views of the reserve that protects the region’s unique Strandveld fynbos. Right on the north-eastern edge of Paternoster, it feels far-flung yet it’s a short stroll along the beach to the centre of town. There’s a beautiful pool, a spa on site, and a variety of bespoke activities for guests, from a guided coastal bush hike to a beach picnic. The hotel’s refined restaurant, Leeto, should be reserved at the same time you book a room.
Good to know No children under 12 years old.
Cost From R4 550 per suite (including breakfast)
Contact 021 794 5858, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Dick Clarke Street, Mosselbank, Paternoster
The Oystercatchers’ Haven
This characterful guesthouse on the beach in Paternoster’s Bekbaai combines rustic reed ceilings, stable doors and antique sash windows with chic décor, Persian carpets and African art. There are just four rooms, each completely different, plus a wonderful verandah with a lap pool and front-row seats to the spectacular sunsets in this part of the world.
Good to know Smugglers Cottage is a pet- and kiddie-friendly option next door.
Cost From R2 299 per room (R1 800 single occupant)
Where to find it 48 Sonkwas Road, Bekbaai, Paternoster