A Small Village on a Big River
Papendorp is one of three tiny dots, the others being Strandfontein and Doringbaai, on the map beyond the more popular fishing villages of Paternoster and Lambert’s Bay along the Cape West Coast. It lies between Strandfontein and Lutzville, a small fishing village at the mouth of the big Olifants River.
The natural beauty and splendour of the area is enhanced by the history and culture of the farmers and fishermen that have lived here for generations. The locals are, and have been for ages, dependant on fishing in the estuary and their understanding of the fragile eco-system has helped preserve this natural environment. The fishermen use little wooden boats called “bakkies” and go out before sunset to harvest mullet and when the tide comes in, and the waters rise, visitors can take a flat-bottomed boat up the river to Lutzville and its unique vineyards.
Remnants of the old reed-and-mud houses where the fishermen dwelled in the past can still be seen as well as the rustic tittle church overlooking the river mouth.
Papendorp Beach is only accessible on foot – the river opens out onto an unspoiled beach, accessible only on foot. Steps and a boardwalk take walkers through a marshy area and past white salt pans, salt is still processed here in the traditional way, before hitting the path to a bird hide. The silence here is absolute and the bird life prolific, 183 species recorded!
Closest accommodation to Papendorp is in the towns of Strandfontein and Dorinbaai where visitors can rent self-catering units along the coastline.
Things to do and see
- Papendorp Old Church
- Community Needlework Project
- Salt Pans
- Papendorp Wetlands Estuary & Beach
- Bird Watching
- Strandfontein Beach
- Lutzville Vineyards
- Doringbaai Beach
Papendorp receives approximately 187 mm of rain per year with most of its annual rainfall during winter.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 29˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 5˚C and 21˚C.
Ebenhaezer and Papendorp, situated just five minutes apart, started when Ebenhaezer, originally the site of a Khoi Kraal, was founded by the Rhenish Missionary Station in 1834.
When James Backhouse visited Ebenhaezer in March 1840 he wrote that several people were living in huts built of reeds and mud, and that residents were building a windmill on a low hill outside the town.
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