Gonana has a ring to it; it certainly rolls nicely off the tongue, don’t you think? However, Jonas Sandström put plenty of thought into naming this Paternoster Guesthouse, going further than just what “sounds good.” Gonana means “to embrace” in isiZulu, and embrace is what Jonas has done after moving to South Africa from Stockholm 18 years ago.
Jonas has created a space that pays homage to his heritage, incorporating sustainable design trends with African accents, and of course, the warmest of smiles from local women who have worked alongside Jonas for many years, starting as domestic workers to becoming managers, cooks, and front of house. Gonana is home to feel-good stories, inspirational women, and awe-inspiring views over the bay, and it’s all just 2.5 hours away from Cape Town.
Scandi-design is very “in” at the moment – and for good reason! Jonas has transformed an old family cottage along Bekbaai (Bek Bay) into an eight-bedroom eco-conscious guesthouse that works in harmony with nature, not against it. Jonas commissioned the rehabilitation of the fynbos and dunes directly in front of the Sea Facing Rooms while also bringing the outside in, with furniture lovingly crafted from upcycled local materials and wood sourced from alien trees.
He has also kept the cupboards, headboards, and feature pieces in their rawest form, showcasing how less really is more. The aesthetics and restraint offer a relaxing space, proving that embracing eco-conscious living and sustainability doesn’t have to feel like you’re sacrificing on the experience; you’re actually enhancing it!
As one of South Africa’s oldest fishing towns along the West Coast, Paternoster is renowned for its friendly locals and close-knit community. Gonana Guesthouse is certainly no exception to this village’ trait,’ with the shared space upstairs encouraging fireside chats and relaxed living amongst guests.
Every morning breakfast is served around the driftwood communal dining table, which has a story of its own – as do most pieces here. This centrepiece belonged to the previous owner and is the centre of new friendships and a place that brings people together – much as it did during its time in the family home.
Here guests enjoy meat-free breakfasts with locally sourced produce – wherever possible – and fresh bread baked overnight. We feel it is only best to add a disclosure of sorts for guests in the triple room upstairs. If you’re planning on sticking to your carb-free diet, you may want to embrace your curves. The delicious scents of our bread baking overnight, and muffins in the morning, often find their way into your room and tantalises your tastebuds!
Get back to basics, reconnect, and share the “oohs” and “aahs” with fellow guests as you watch the whales frolic in the bay. We firmly believe that travel is not only about discovering new places, but about getting in touch with locals and fellow travellers and exploring new ideas and traditions – something we’re all craving and which finally feels ‘in reach.’
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