The West Coast
16.03.2017 - 16.03.2017 20 °F
On The Way to Paternoster
Sometimes as a tourist I want to get off the beaten path and driving up the west coast out of Cape Town is a good way to do that. You really need to bring some supplies and perhaps plan to spend an overnight or two along the way. This is more for the adventurous soul who would like to get a little closer to nature.
About an hour north of the city you will arrive at the West Coast National Park. You could spend a day here easily if you have packed a lunch (or visit the restaurant in the park), have water, sunscreen, hats, hiking boots or flip flops depending on if you prefer hiking or playing on the sandy beaches or bays. The entrance to the park is 75 rand for foreigners and 50 rand for locals. It might be a good idea to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to manage the sand roads here.
There are animals wandering around including snakes, but no predators. My friend told me she was there with her family and they saw a wildabeast!
We drove into the park and stopped at Preekstoel, a beautiful spot with a vista of the lagoon that is fed by the Atlantic Ocean. The beautiful white sand beaches and shallow waters of the salt flats with rolling hills all around make for a great picnic spot. The cove is protected from the shore so not much wind here. You may need an umbrella or a big hat and sunscreen if you want to spend time here.
We made another stop at Churchhaven for a beautiful view of the Atlantic with the waves crashing on the shoreline. Unfortunately we left the park to head up to paternoster another hour's drive. But had we stayed we could have hiked down to the beach or enjoyed the bird hides to view the many species of birds in the park. We did see a rock kestrel perched on a post over looking the area down to the beach. The rock kestrel is a small bird of prey belonging to the falcon family.
So after a brief stay in the park we head up to the fishing village of Paternoster. It is one more hour north and an easy drive, along the way you may see some sheep or ostriches but mostly just rolling hills and because the is a drought now everything is pretty brown.
The village of Paternoster is not at all touristy and you may think you have been teleported to Greece. The buildings are all bright white with blue trim and low profiles. A small village where you can also book a bed and breakfast and stay for a couple days for some R&R on the sea. We had lunch at Voorstrand Restaurant on the beach, it has a red roof so you can't miss it, the food was great and the view was outstanding. It is the complete antithesis of Cape Town with it's hustle and bustle.