The small Cape Columbine Nature Reserve (263ha) was declared a nature reserve in 1973 and is located on the West Coast Peninsula just west of Paternoster. It’s is best known for the Cape Columbine Lighthouse (1936) and Tietiesbaai. The former, built on Castle Rock, is actually still cared for by a full-time resident lighthouse keeper. It is one of four lighthouses in South Africa that offer accommodation in a number of self-catering cottages on the premise. The lighthouse and later the reserve, are named after the Columbine which got shipwrecked nearby in 1829. Visitors may ascend the spiral staircase within the lighthouse to take in 360deg views of the surrounding landscape.
For South Africans it’s the humorous name Tietiesbaai that causes its existence to register and be remembered. The Afrikaans name Tietiesbaai translates to ‘Tities Bay’. But be warned, it is not adorned with skimpy clad women sunbathing. Rather the name refers to round granite boulders that forms part of the allure and beauty of the small Bay. Tietiesbaai features non-nonsense and no-shade back to basics camping with very few facilities.
Much like Tietiesbaai the Reserve is quite sparse. Vegetation is typical West Coast veld, ranging from fynbos to Karoo succulents. During spring, from August to September, the area is covered in a bright tapestry of wild flowers. Round granite rocks abound everywhere. On this part of the coast swimming is only for the very brave as the water is really cold. But provided that you have the right cold-water gear, sea-kayaking and other ocean-water sports are popular. In addition to visiting the historic lighthouse the main attraction to the Reserve is hiking and exploring its small coves and granite rocks.
The only other accommodation option in the Reserve is the Beach Camp. Owned and operated by a private concessionaire if features small pitched tents with beds and bedding. Communal facilities include showers, a lounge and dining-bar area. All extremely laid-back and rustic. The Camp looks onto a large natural rock pool, granite boulders and the ocean beyond.
Paternoster, a small fishing village situated on the West Coast, is a popular weekend destination for Capetonians. The name Paternoster refers to the “our Father” prayer of Portuguese sailors who were shipwrecked in the area. The town is famous for its abundance of crayfish, its traditional fisherman's architecture and endless pristine sandy beaches.
The seaside village of Saldanha bay is situated on the northern end of Saldanha Bay on the Cape West Coast in South Africa. The Bay is the largest bay on the South African Coast and a centre for nature conservation and eco tourism.
The Cape Columbine Lighthouse (1936) is popular with travellers heading to Paternoster on the West Coast Peninsula. Visitors can tour the lighthouse and ascend the spiral staircase to the top, where the light stands at a height of 80m above sea level and casts a beam visible for about 50km.