Me and my family recently spent five days holidaying in Paternoster and we were unfortunately victims of crime during our stay. We therefore want to inform other travelers of our experience, hopefully avoiding others having the same misfortune. We rented a house (Shallow Waters) through the Stay in Paternoster agency. The house was very nice and so was Paternoster. There was a note in the house, as well as in the information provided by Stay in Paternoster, that petty theft was an issue in Paternoster and that one should take care to close and lock windows and doors when leaving the house. Living in Pretoria we are also used to crime, we therefore always used the alarm when leaving the house and made sure that doors and windows were closed and locked when going to bed. The alarm, however, could not be set while in the house.
On our third morning in the house we realized that somebody had broken into the house during the night while we were sleeping. They had forced open a window leading to the kitchen and then proceeded to steal a number of things from the kitchen/dining area. We lost a valuable camera, wallets, clothes, DVDs, sunglasses, food, running shoes etc. Luckily they had not moved into the bedrooms and hence left us alone. They had also taken the car keys and searched the car but thankfully not taken the car. We called the police, who arrived quickly and we were most impressed with the service they provided. Although, we do not have much hope that they will catch the thieves or that we would get things back it was nice to be provided with good service and a real sense that they took the issue seriously.
People from a neighboring guesthouse also came by to ask if we were ok and said they would ask around to see if anybody knew anything. We were however, sadly not very happy with the service provided by Stay in Paternoster. Even though they were informed about the break in they never once contacted us to hear if we were ok or if we needed help. Or even to ask if there was damage to the house or if items belonging to the house were stolen. We repeatedly called them to ask if it was possible to set the alarm while in the house and we all felt uncomfortable staying there. We also have to very small kids and visiting grandparents from the UK who are not used to the crime levels in South Africa. Never once did they call us back and it was over a day later that they managed to find a number to ADT for us to call on instructions for how to set the alarm. We specially asked them to come in inspect the damage to the window and to make sure nothing from the house was stolen but they never showed. We are also worried that had anything been taken they would then have held us responsible.
Even though it might not strictly been Stay in Paternosters responsibility to offer assistance or indeed even express concern or sympathy one would have thought it would come with reasonable service. As a home owner renting out my property I would also be concerned that they did not take time to inspect the damage done to the property, which is surely their responsibility.
I would still definitely recommend people visiting Paternoster but I would strongly advise that you only rent a house with an alarm that can be set while in the house and that you always keep your valuables in your bedroom. I would also advise against using Stay in Paternoster simply because of their lack of service.