Paternoster, one of South Africa’s oldest fishing villages, is easily reached within two hours of Cape Town. Life on the West Coast is intrinsically connected to the sea: fishermen brave icy waters to catch snoek and crayfish while strands of seashells dangle from the thatched roofs of whitewashed cottages.
The Cape Columbine Nature Reserve is a stone’s throw away, hiding secret coves and inlets. During springtime, the reserve bursts with colour as wildflowers form a tapestry of white, orange, yellow and purple. Perched atop a boulder-strewn outcrop is the Cape Columbine lighthouse; the last manually-controlled lighthouse in the country proffering panoramic views of the fishing village and ocean as well as overnight accommodation. Bid the day farewell as sunlight fades, casting the shoreline into moonlit obscurity accompanied by a symphony of surging and retreating waves.
Stroll along the coastline as low tide washes lazily onto the beach where colourful, wooden boats lay scattered like driftwood. Kayak around the calm bay to get closer to the penguin colonies and keep an eye out for some of the 225 bird species that nest among the rocks. Beach buggy trips along the coast stop at superb viewpoints from which to spot frolicking whales and dolphins while other activities include hiking, mountain biking, snorkelling, scuba diving, kitesurfing and swimming.
- Cape Columbine lighthouse, the last manually-operated lighthouse, built in 1936, offers a panoramic view of the fishing village and ocean
- Cape Columbine Nature Reserve covers 263ha of wild, rocky coastline with numerous inlets and coves that encourage hiking, angling, bird-watching, diving and kayaking
- A beach buggy trip along the coastline past prime viewpoints offers possible whale and dolphin sightings. Other sea and wildlife include seals, penguins, cormorants, oystercatcher and over 225 other bird species
- Springtime covers the area in a kaleidoscope of colours with wild flowers and Namaqualand daisies