It was time to leave the safety of my nest and after adhering to strict lockdown measures and not travelling for over six months, I ventured to beautiful Paternoster for an overnight stay at the elegantly restorative Gonana Guest House.
An environmentally conscious home owned by Swedish entrepreneur and interior designer Jonas Sandström, Gonana is situated right on the private Bekbaai beach. Inviting, warm and welcoming, we were instantly made to feel at ease by host extraordinaire Thandi who was there to care for our every need during our stay. The weather was just right for the moment with moody skies, wild Atlantic waters, churning waves and deserted beaches. Exactly how I like it. Stylish and soothing, our room on the ground floor offered uninterrupted views towards the ocean with direct access by way of fynbos lined path to the shoreline.
Striving to be off the grid with water recycled, solar-generated power, single-use plastic kept to the minimal, chemicals taboo, gardens indigenous and décor all-natural and locally sourced, the laid-back luxury of Gonana Guest House is instantly restorative. The seven en-suite rooms are decorated in a neutral palette that encourages you to exhale and reconnect with the natural world. Polished cement floors, extra-length, raw wooden beds and headboards lend an earthy feel, as do finely sanded log nightstands, handwoven baskets and well-appointed decks. All linen, towels, beds and furniture are locally sourced.
It was really good to be there, and on Sunday morning we woke to clear blue skies and the warmth of the sun. We took long walks on the beach and around the village, enjoyed a delicious dinner at Noisy Oyster and indulged in a bit of shopping. Paternoster is a very special place.
About Gonana Guest House
Gonana Guest House is Paternoster’s first sustainable and environmentally conscious guest house. Virtually off the grid and following ethical and environmentally sound practices, the establishment is Fair Trade accredited and adheres to a refreshing, unfettered approach to guest accommodation.
Gonana’s seven en-suite rooms are all a study in calm. White walls and bare floors give a sense of space, while white percale linen and hand-woven cotton towels add finesse. Five of the guest suites have private verandas, four of which lead directly to the beach, while upstairs the family suite with a private terrace can accommodate a small family wanting to stay together.
The dining and lounge area is furnished with a solid wooden table and bench seating from which to enjoy breakfast with a full sea view. Classic leather couches complemented by woven leather chairs are set around a fireplace, while the wide balcony, edged with ample seating and plenty of soft comfy cushions, is an excellent place from which to enjoy the sunset.
In the courtyard, a deep, saltwater, heated pool is another relaxation option where you can settle in the sun on a thick pool mattress – or choose shade surrounded by the indigenous gardens. Children are welcome at Gonana and there is Wi-Fi throughout, as well as a great selection of books and board games.
The name Gonana is derived from the Zulu word ‘embrace’ and it is fitting that all who enjoy and appreciate nature and are environmentally conscious find a place here. Even though these hugs may be socially distanced these days, they are still felt.
Wildflowers from the garden on the bedside table.
Paternoster is always a good idea
Only 90-minutes from Cape Town on the R27, the drive there takes you through fynbos covered landscape, past farm stalls and rather remote towns until the last barren and beautiful stretch between Vredenburg and Paternoster. Gonana Guest House is just south of the main hub in the direction of the Cape Columbine lighthouse, set on a private beach with spectacular views across the ocean which is only a couple of hundred metres away.
Popular for its photogenic fishermen’s cottages, shades of blue, kilometres of near-empty beaches, a fine selection of restaurants and interesting items for sale in the carefully curated shops and galleries, Paternoster enjoys dramatic sunsets and cool sea air with a perfect silky white and mostly empty beach that invites long walks.
From Gonana Guest House walking into town, you’ll pass the Paternoster Hotel and the recently developed Waterfront area. Further into the centre are galleries and gift stores and a market area set out for the fishermen to sell their catch. The Stone Fish Art Studio by artist Dianne Heesom-Green, designer cutlery by Maneki, and the coffee shops and restaurants on the water’s edge at the bottom of St Augustine Road are all worth visiting.
The origin of Paternoster’s name, which means Our Father in Latin, is said to refer to prayers by the Catholic Portuguese seamen who became shipwrecked here. Others believe it may be from the beads that the Khoi tribe wore, which were called Paternosters.
Activities to be enjoyed from Gonana Guest House
West Coast National Park is one of my chosen breakaway places, with its 16-mile beach, tranquil lagoon and plains game. Don’t miss the opportunity to spend time here. Experience the luxury of unwinding by having a relaxing massage in the comfort of your room – one can be arranged for you. Explore the Columbine Nature Reserve and discover an abundance of indigenous flora and fauna and the rugged beauty of the coastline.
The Cape Columbine lighthouse was built in 1936 and is the last coastal beacon to have a dedicated lighthouse keeper. Paddle across the bay in a sea kayak to spot penguins and sea birds in their natural surroundings – even dolphins on a lucky day. Set out on foot along the beach to The Greater Paternoster Nature Reserve, go kite surfing or horse riding, or wine tasting along the West Coast Wine Route
The West Coast Fossil Park in Langebaan has exceptionally well-preserved remains of fossil fauna that date to circa 5.2 million years ago. There is also a newly built museum on the site which is well worth a visit. Another attraction in the area is !Khwa ttu introduces you to the rich culture and traditions of the San people. A visit to the west coast usually means a stop in the small town of Darling which offers Darling Brew, Darling Sweets, Evita Se Perron and numerous charming eateries and stores.
Supporting local products and artisans matters. Immerse yourself in local culture and tradition with a visit to Simply Bee Skin Products in Hopefield, where you’ll find all-natural beeswax products that are made from raw materials sourced from the company’s beehives. This local gem has successfully created a skincare range that is free from harmful chemicals, synthetic fragrances and parabens. The products are in use throughout Gonana Guest House and are offered for sale.
Paternoster Restaurant Recommendations
Bookings are necessary at almost all the preferred eating establishments in Paternoster and we’d recommend that you reserve your table in advance to avoid disappointment. On my stay, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Noisy Oyster, which Thandi recommended and booked.
- Gaaitjie +27 (0) 22 752 2242 – on the beach.
- Leeto +27 (0) 60 927 0403 – in the village.
- Noisy Oyster +27 (0) (0) 22 752 2196 – in the village.
- Paternoster Brewery & Restaurant +27 (0) 63 9523383 – on the outskirts.
- Voorstrandt Restaurant +27 (0) 22 752 2038 – on the beach – a firm favourite.
- The most incredible and renowned Wolfgat – www.wolfgat.co.za – on the beach.
The Essential Details
For bookings and additional information call Joy Daniels the Reservations Manager at +27 76 7192538 | +27 074 555 3063. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or connect at www.gonanaguesthouse.com. Rooms are currently priced from R950.00 per night for two persons sharing inclusive of breakfast, which is truly incredible value. They are also running a competition on their Facebook page. With prior arrangements, dogs are welcome in certain rooms at Gonana.
** Thank you to Gonana Guest House for hosting us x.