So what’s in a name? Instead of appeasing Shakespeare, here’s our interpretation of the name, ‘Paternoster.’ To the Catholic Portuguese seamen shipwrecked along South Africa’s West Coast, ‘Paternoster’ formed part of their prayers and cries, meaning ‘Our Father’ in Latin. While for the Khoi tribe, it is believed that Paternoster referred to the beads that they wore called ‘Paternosters.’ To our Gonana family, Paternoster is synonymous with self-reflection, with mindfulness, and with calls to ground oneself firmly in nature. It’s a place where Mother Earth’s strength and energy travels through one’s feet, with a direct line to the heart and mind, so to speak.
We know that we’re probably the only ones who define Paternoster like this, but that’s because Paternoster is far more than just the name of an old fishing town along the West Coast for us. It has a palpable energy so strong and magnetic that it kept our visionary, Jonas Sandström, from returning home to Stockholm, Sweden. You can read about his story and why he loves Paternoster more than anywhere else here.
The emotions that Paternoster awakens is what led us to name our eco-conscious guesthouse, Gonana Guesthouse and Cottages, as Gonana means to embrace in isiZulu. Under Jonas, we have embraced local produce and local people and embraced the idea of living life slowly, filled with purpose – however, it’s somewhat easy to do this with a location like this.
A stay with us is a date with nature. It’s a town where you can embrace the energy and lifestyle Paternoster exudes. From walking to the restaurants just down the road to exploring open beaches just over the boulders. Your footprints here are the only things you leave behind, as our guesthouse is sustainable and one of the few eco-conscious lodges in this fishing town.
For Jonas, the ultimate goal of Gonana is to show the world how we can embrace eco-friendly living without compromising on the experience. It’s a place where the luxuries are in the details. They’re in the stories of local artisans who created pieces by hand that are showcased in the many furnishings and decor fittings seen in our guesthouse. Furthermore, Gonana is a place where the luxury is knowing that your presence benefits local women and the West Coast’s best entrepreneurs.
As the only guesthouse along Bekbaai Beach with a green belt running next to it, it’s easy to tap into Paternoster’s energy. Here, the sounds of the waves hum you to sleep, with the smell of fynbos waking your senses each morning with a walk onto the beach just a few steps away. For those inclined, a Wim Hof-inspired dip in the Atlantic will have you feeling alive once again.
So instead of waiting for life’s demands to stop creeping in, perhaps it’s time to leave the ‘expected’ and try a guesthouse that’s invested in the future of sustainable travel? Maybe it’s time to experience our take on Paternoster living?