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The Beach Camp, Paternoster

For a long time, Paternoster on the West Coast was my favourite weekend escape. The white-washed beach houses, long sandy strip of idyllic beachfront and shimmering blue-green waters are what dreams are made of. Big pots of mussels and sweet crayfish tails. A braai in the icy west coast wind and a bottle of wine. Delicious.

But recently, the high crime rate, less than welcoming locals and disproportionately high accommodation rates have dulled some of the shine of this seaside village for me. Stories of brutal robberies, repeated warnings to keep doors and windows locked at all times – even when you’re inside, and a general air of bad energy have unfortunately knocked Paternoster off my list of weekend retreats.

However, just outside of the town, in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, The Beach Camp creates a whole different Paternoster experience. Wooden A-frame tented accommodation, no electricity and a huge fire pit where you can sit right on the water and see thousands of stars. Waves lap at the rocks literally a few meters from your bed. Fresh air and city escape. This place is the West Coast’s most valuable hidden gem.

The accommodation is rustic. Like, communal showers and rudimentary toilet facilities rustic. But it was exactly what we wanted – something different to home. The water that side is freezing and the night air can take a summer’s day down to a pretty cold temperature, but we absolutely loved this place and can’t wait to go back.