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Paternoster -what a disappointment

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Paternoster -what a disappointment

We rented a house in Paternoster called Na Genoeg and paid the significant sum of ZAR 3000/night-both the house location and Paternoster were a huge disappointment and potentially dangerous.

To get from the house to the beach or up the footpath to town you walk over a carpet (absolutely no exaggeration) of broken glass and rubbish. This is not a location for families with young children: cut feet are inevitable and a doctor's visit for tetanus injections on the cards. Visitors with expectations of a clean, sandy beach will be horrified. The beach parties, loud music and drunks were not a major problem but the piles of bottles left for days up against rocks were. The rubbish outside the house blows about like tumbleweed on a Clint Eastwood film set.

The Na Genoeg house is definitely at the 'problem' end of the beach and this was confirmed when a rock was thrown at our car and smashed the windscreen.

The houses on the seafront seem to have been built for rental income and while the owner of our house was happy to take ZAR 12,000 for our stay, no investment goes into keeping the environment clean and complaints to the owner and the booking agency 'Stay in Paternoster' went unanswered.

On the positive side the restaurants are great.

We love SA and have travelled all over the country. The rubbish tip that is Paternoster is a poor advertisement for a wonderful country.

Cape Town
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1. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

Sorry you didn't enjoy your stay in Paternoster. It is one of our very favourite destinations to drive up to from Cape Town. Either on a day drive or to drive up and stay overnight - have a wonderful dinner and then, in the morning, a long walk on a gorgeous beach, before, what my wife describes as the "best breakfasts she has ever eaten". Then, a gentle drive back to Cape Town, through quiet pastoral countryside dotted with Dairy Farms and Wine Estates.

I don't know Na Genoeng, but just looked it up. The Website from the accommodation office has a very detailed map. I would have thought that the fact that almost the very next building was a large building labelled "Fish Market" may have given you some clues. I know the area well. Paternoster is still a working fishing village. Yes, there are a lot of new developments. Most of which are designed in keeping with the fishing history. But this not a plastic Disneyland. It is still a place where the full time inhabitants make their living by fishing. This is a dangerous occupation in the Cape's stormy waters and it is not well paid.

There is not a big stone built harbour and the fishermen pull up their boats onto the strech of sand next to the Fish market - the centre of village life and commerce. This is presumably the beach area that you are referring to. Fishing is not a neat and tidy occupation. The fisherman have to clean out their small boats after a night's fishing. Clean and mend their nets and wait around until the next trip out on the ocean is due. This does not lead (just in this area) to a clean manicured environment. Fisherman when they are ashore are quite notorious heavy drinkers. I think I would be if I had to go out on the Southern Atlantic Ocan every night in a tiny wooden boat.

I also live in a fishing community on the Cape, although a much bigger one. Several men from our fishing fleet drown every year. Last year it was over 20!

So this part of the beach does have beer and other bottles as well as the rubbish from the boats. I am sure the municipality do try and keep it clean But, as I say it is a poor working area.

Walk for 5 mins to the other side of the Fish Harbour and you DO reach a white Sandy Beach. Interspersed with areas where the sea has swept in mussel shells, which are crushed by the waves to make a carpet of gorgeous denim blue! You can walk on this clean beach for miles without seeing another soul. As I say we often do. Many families from Cape Town and overseas visitors come here to give their kids a quiet, safe holiday on the beach. As you point out they would stay at this end of the village not around the Fish Market.

I notice that this is your first post on TripAdvisor and you use it to complain. This is not really the main function of the Forums. I do see however that you have been a member for a couple of years. Maybe before coming to an area you knew nothing about, you could have posted on here and you would have got lots of help and recommendations of the best places and areas to stay in Paternoster. That's what these forums are all about. If you are not sure post and you will nearly always get help.

We always stay at Ah! guesthouse which is at the farthest end of the beach. As I say we like to get out of bed in the morning, straight onto the beach and walk for miles. Although we do like walking around the harbour area talking to the fisherman and their kids and maybe buy some fish to take home for the Braai.

Sorry you didn't enjoy your stay in Paternoster, but glad to hear you enjoyed the rest of the country. Maybe next time you are going somewhere new see if you can get help on TripAdvisor - thousands coming to South Africa do!

Paris, France
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2. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

I am also sorry you did not enjoy your stay in Paternoster as it is one of our favourite places and have noticed some rubbish here and there but the overall impression is totally different. The long walks for miles and miles on the white sandy beaches are pure bliss, for us the experience is always enhanced by staying at a guest house or a bed and breakfast rather than self cater as there are excellent ones there - we have already stayed at Paternoster Dunes and The Oystercatcher's Haven and hope to stay Ah! Guest House next time- no doubt we shall be hearing from Lisasplaces on her enjoyment of Paternoster as well !

Edited: 09 June 2010, 08:29
Leeds, United...
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3. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

Hi Frenchpoodle

Yes, here I am and defending Paternoster. I have travelled quite extensively around the Western Cape on holiday and Paternoster is my favourite place by a long way. I love the stark beauty of the place - the pristine white sand with all the beautiful mussel shells and the deep blue (freezing cold) sea. Great place for children to collect shells. I too stayed at the other end of the village at Ah, where every morning I went for a long walk to work up an appetite for breakfast.

As VDC, I know the area where you stayed and yes it is not quite so pristine as the rest of the village, but the fact that Paternoster is a working fishing village is part of its charm. So please, if you are thinking of going to Paternoster, do not be put off, it is a great, relaxing place to stay on the West Coast, with some great restaurants too, and I am looking forward to going back in November.

Lisa

Paternoster, South...
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4. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

I am very sorry to hear about your bad experience in Paternoster.

As chairperson of Paternoster Village Tourism (PVT) I take this complaint very serious and have discussed this matter with the accommodation agency. As you pointed out yourself in some correspondence with the agent that the house had a great view, you were made aware of the location of the house, ie close to the fishmarket where trading still takes place in these days.

I was also told by the agent that the windscreen was not smashed at all but that it was a tiny piece of cement (not even a stone) that made a tiny little hole - maybe the size of a 5c piece in the windscreen - almost like what would happen when one drives behind a truck and a stone hits the windscreen. So it seems to be a little bit of exaggerating from your side just to put Paternoster into a bad spot. Though this doesn't mean that I don't understand your frustration and anger. For this neither the owner nor the agency can be held responsible to what has happened to you.

PVT would like to highlight that we had a huge clean up campaign supported by the Saldanha Bay Municiaplity as well as World Focus Recycling, Vredenburg on Thursday, 10 June, just one day before the World Cup kicked-off as well as the first day of school holidays. More than 100 school children were very keen collecting all kinds of rubbish. They were educated on the go by professional staff of World Focus Recycling on what can be recycled and what can't. It turned out to be a HUGE SUCCESS and if you would be in Paternoster now, you would not say it is the same as before Thursday. More than 800 refuse bags were collected, filling 7 skip wastebins, and the town looks so clean now. The kids had fun and lots of local residents also gave a helping hand.

Oep ve Koep, Paternoster Hotel, Voorstrandt Restaurant, Paternoster Food Market, Paternoster Lodge/Skatkis and The Noisy Oyster donated money which was used for some refreshments after the hard work.

Being the owner of Farr Out Guesthouse I would also like to highlight that at the outskirts of Paternoster you are not only having a fantastic view over the village but for sure you won't be bothered by any hawkers or rubbish laying aroung.

Paternoster Village Tourism hopes to welcome you again in the future to turn your bad experience into a wonderful stay in Paternoster.

Marion Lubitz

Chairperson of Paternoster Village Tourism

Farr Out Guesthouse **** owner

Rustenburg
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5. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

Sorry about your bad experience - I am going there from North West 2 to 3 times every year for more than 10 years now and even are buying a house there now. I fully agree with the other comments- every place has got some negative aspects, but in Paternoster there are really many more positive things that makes it the most enjoyable place with stunning down to earth people!

Edinburgh, United...
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6. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

May I simply add to others positive comments about Paternoster - we stayed in Dromedarais (sp) close to the fish processing plant. We loved the house, the views, the restaurants and most importantly the fact that there is a great deal of real life going on all around.

It's not a theme park, but as VdC says a working, and poor village.

It's useful that you've provided feedback - we all look for different experiences in our travels.

We will be back in 2011.

Cape Town
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7. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

On a little different topic, but with 'DISAPPOINTMENT' an understatement, I'd like to recount an experience I wish upon no-one planning to visit this beautiful small town.

We stayed previously with AH Guesthouse and immediately fell in love with the village and had a thoroughly enjoyable time with Arnold and Annalise of AH. On our second and third visits we tried a couple of self catering units and earlier in the year discovered Twalap self-catering cottage, a delightful house on the beach. We truly enjoyed our stay here (no rubbish to mention) and the proximity to the beach just wonderful. We liked it so much, we decided to invite our brother and his family from Germany to join us for four nights in October 2010 to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Three months prior to our intended stay (and the birthday), we contacted the rental agency through whom we made our first booking, a business called 'Stay In Parternoster'. The worst mistake we ever made.

Twalap has three rooms and en-suite bathrooms, a well equipped kitchen and a central porch area with great views, the ideal place to unwind with the family, good food and the best hospitaity the West Coast has to offer.

Unfortunately our 2nd interaction with the folks of Stay In Parternoster turned out to be a huge mistake. Be forewarned: avoid this agency like the plague!

Upon inquiry on availability of Twalap we were told in no uncertain terms that the unit can not be let to more than four people - we were four adults and one child. We pointed out that we had stayed there before and had even communicated with the owner at the time about how we enjoyed staying there and that naturally we were surprised that the unit could not accommodate four adults and one child, given that it had three rooms and three bathrooms. In the correspondence we copied the owner and he immediately confirmed our view/understanding, informing the agents that they have made a mistake. The tone of the agents were, to say the least, unwelcome and aggressive but with the clear instruction from the owner relented and the unit was reserved for us.

A month after the reservation was confirmed, during a trip abroad, we received an email from the agency demanding a 50% deposit. I immediately forwarded my American Express credit card details for payment. For some reason the agency wouldn't accept our previous written confirmation of the booking and again requested that we confirm in writing, which we did for a third time.

Two days before our family vacation, we all arrived in South Africa and I emailed the agency about the booking. Unbelievably they had canceled the booking. Claiming they could not handle American Express card payments.

We were utterly astounded. Why didn't the agency contact us? Why cancel unilaterally when they had multiple written confirmations, had all our contact details and knew that we had been planning a family holiday months in advance - with family specially flying in from overseas? We had stayed with them previously and they knew us. And yet they chose to cancel a confirmed reservation without consulting us, that was made months in advance, confirmed in the course of multiple correspondence.

Until today, we have received no explanation, no apology - neither from the Agency 'Stay In Partnernoster' nor from the owners - whom we had copied in our subsequent requests for an explanation.

This experience with Stay In Parternoster has been the worst we have had from any rental agency, hotel or otherwise in all our travels in 25 years. it ruined what was suppose to be a wonderful birthday celebration and family vacation.

We can't but wonder, given the initial issues, whether there was from the outset a conflict with the Agency's own designs for the unit. Whatever the reason, be sure to give this rental agency a wide berth. From our experience, totally untrustworthy, unprofessional and unrepentant. No way to welcome visitors to Paternoster. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT

Cape Town
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8. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

@GustavErlank

That sounds like a very frustrating and unfortunate experience. If you look earlier in this thread you'll find that FarrOutGuesthouse (Marion) is the chair of Paternoster Tourism (PVT), and I'd advise you to contact Marion via private message to see what else might be done to assist you.

I have used Stay in Paternoster four times in the past year, each without incident and found them professional and responsive. I hope they will reply on this thread to explain their decisions and conduct.

Paternoster
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9. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

Gustav, I guess I'll have to set the record straight.

After your previous stay at Twalap, you contacted the owner directly to tell him how impressed you were with his house. You also told him that you would make a booking for 10 nights if he: 1) arranged wi-fi access for you and 2) if he removed the poles and pillars on his patio, as these were obstructing your view when you sat in your favourite spot.

Regarding your booking. Firstly, you wanted to book for four adults and one seven-year old child. Our website explicitly states that Twalap sleeps four and that children under the age of 16 are permitted. When you were told that we could not accommodate your booking, you decided to contact the owner directly and we were finally instructed by the owner to make an exception for you.

On 23 July we sent you the provisional booking form, which stated that your deposit was due on 25 July. When we didn't receive your deposit on time, we didn't cancel your booking, as we know you are a very busy man and, as you had been a guest before, decided to give you a little grace.

On 28 August (more than a month later) I sent you an e-mail enquiring whether you still wanted the booking, as we had not yet received the deposit. On 30 August you replied by providing American Express credit card details. Our Credit Card Payment Authorisation Form, which was sent with the provisional booking form, clearly states that we only accept Visa & Master cards. Three hours later, we responded that we unfortunately do not accept Amex and enquired whether you could furnish us with alternative credit card details.

On 13 September (two weeks later) we sent an e-mail to say that we unfortunately had to cancel your booking, as we have not had any response regarding your credit card details, and neither have we had a deposit paid into our bank account.

Only on 29 September (48 hours before you were planning to arrive) did we receive the first correspondence from you again, providing us with alternative credit card details. When you were told that your booking had been cancelled you started accusing us of the worst kind of service you had ever experienced. Now - Gustav - I would love to know whether any of the 'rental agencies, hotels or otherwise' you have visited in 'all your travels in 25 years' would have been prepared to keep a booking for more than two months without a deposit.

The fact of the matter is that your booking was never confirmed as no deposit was ever paid. Anyone expecting a have booking held for them for that long without payment a deposit, must be naive. It is my opinion that you messed up by neglecting to pay your deposit on time, have no answers for your visiting family and are now trying to blame everyone else to save your own embarrassed face.

Seeing that you chose this forum to express your unhappiness, maybe other readers of this forum may want to express their feelings as to whether you were treated unfairly.

Marina Enslin

Stay in Paternoster

10. Re: Paternoster -what a disappointment

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