Paternoster: South Africa's Quaint Seaside Retreat

And only 140 kilometers from the bustle of Cape Town.

Olivia Balsinger

 In order to soak in as much of South Africa’s romantic and natural beauty as possible, consider lodging in Paternoster, the quaint seaside retreat.  Only about 140 kilometers north and west of Cape Town, Paternoster is one of the last traditional fishing villages on the West Coast.

It's terribly easy to lose track of time in this oasis away from the big city. You'll spend your time walking its long, pristine white-sand beaches and experience one of its glorious sunsets; seeing remains of saber-tooth cats, mega tooth sharks, extinct elephants and other fascinating traces of wildlife evolution at The West Coast Fossil Park; and learning how to employ the native fishing traditions.

If you can’t resist plunging in, there is also diving trips and training; hikes to discover spectacular rock formations and opportunities to find yourself face-to-face with the paintings in Khoi-San caves, executed by South African’s indigenous people. 

One of the most fascinating people and interesting activities in Paternoster is visiting the studio of Stone Fish Studio & Gallery, owned by Dianne Heesom-Green. Dianne decided to leave her life and teaching studio in Cape Town for the serenity of this Western South African utopia. I decided to learn more about what it was that brought her to find inspiration in Paternoster.


OB: Besides the obvious beauty surrounding us, why did you choose to move to Paternoster?

D H-G: Easy. The big sky and quiet open spaces of land contrasting with the ever moving, restless Atlantic ocean.

OB: Why should it be a hot spot for tourists? 

D H-G: Paternoster has a life of its own. Stubbornly Weskus, she will charm you and lull the visitor to a point where one cannot remember the problems of life. Walks on the beach at any time of day or night. Truly excellent restaurants, we boast of at least five top chefs who live here. Art galleries, horse riding, kayaking and walks in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve are some activities not to be missed. Ideal for runners and cyclists, sup boarders and wind surfers alike.

OB: True. And this seems like just the place to really become inspired by art. Tell us a bit about what this at means to you. 

D H-G: Art is a discipline only a few master but many enjoy. Art feeds our soul and even the most financial of institutions find the hanging of art beneficial to employees and customers alike. Art mirrors the society we live in, and in our vibrant exuberant country, with so many flavors  and cultures, artworks by South African artists are energetic and explorative. 

OB: And what are you doing to perpetuate South African artwork?

D H-G:I believe South African artists have so much to offer but very little exposure. I showcase working Western Cape artists in the gallery area along with my own art works. National and International visitors can enjoy good art in a Relaxed environment. In fact, many return to see what is new each year!

Over the last 15 years I have taught both children and adults from the village and surrounds. Some have gone on to open studios or train further in art. Weekend Winter Workshops bring visitors to our village during the most beautiful season of all.


There are bountiful choices for accommodations in Paternoster. Stay at one of the beachside self catering cottages in the traditional Die Opstel style distinct to the village, or, for more privacy, make yourself home at one of the more opulent Hocus Pocus cottages on Kriedoring Road. And for an equally secluded yet budget friendly option, cozy up in