Paternoster - A Little Bay of Plenty

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

Locals say the name of their quaint fishing village, Paternoster bears rich historic meaning, and mostly of the fortuitous kind.

Meaning ‘Our Father’ in Latin, Paternoster is a picturesque piece of West Coast paradise with white sandy beaches, also characteristic for its village atmosphere. Often the absolute delight of visitors to the adjacent Columbine Reserve just three kilometers away, who after laying eyes on the magnificent Tietiesbaai next door, can’t believe their luck.

The bay of Paternoster, awash with white seaside cottages and newly built holiday homes, offers a rewarding discovery along the West Coast Main Road near Vredenberg, en route to Springbok and Uppington. Here it is not only locals who live off the prolific catches of the ocean, but also visitors realizing the value of negotiating with fishermen for the latest freshly caught seafood.

The name Paternoster holds much fascination with a number of historic records as to its exact meaning, and the most common meaning to be associated with rosaries or ‘prayer beads’. The more dramatic legend has it that survivors of a Portuguese vessel shipwrecked nearby said the ‘Our Father Prayer’ in thanks for their safe deliverance from what could have been a rather grave end. It also goes back to prayers in Medieval times, when for those unable to read, reciting 150 ‘Our Fathers’ was the equivalent of reciting 150 Psalms. This is when the beads became useful for counting in strings of 10, 50 and 150, some with dividing markers to keep track.

A member of the West Coast District Municipality and Saldanha Bay Local Municipality, Paternoster recently made archeological news when pre-colonial burials on the grounds of St. Augustine's Primary School were discovered. The burials of three partial human skeletons were found by construction workers while digging trenches for two new classrooms in December last year. After visiting the site, the Western Cape Heritage Council’s Nick Wiltshire reported that a piece of burnished pottery found there, places at least some aspects of the site within the last 2000 years. School pupils were allowed to watch as archeologists completed their task, and requests by other schools to visit the site will enrich the history of the village.

Property prices in Paternoster are competitive with19 freehold properties sold in 2010 at average prices of R1.3 million. Three properties priced in excess of R1.5 were sold during the same period, and two in excess of R3 million, while one property was sold for R2.6 million during the past three months. With a 16% percentage sectional share market stock only, the area offers mostly freehold properties for rent during holiday periods as well as permanent rentals. The turnover of residents here is shown by Lightstone with the majority who stay for only five years, while stable residents are mostly aged between 50 and 64 years.

Shelley Point is Paternoster’s highest ranking neighbour with average values of R1.8 million, and Paternoster enjoys first municipal ranking with average values of R2.4 million, followed by Mykonos, Langebaan Country Estate and Langebaan that offers a vast variety of property for sale.

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