In a sparse landscape, I rediscovered an abundance of life

 
 
 

Travelling to Mosselbank Beach is a journey to the end of the world. At least, that’s what it felt like to a young Deon van Schalkwyk. He spent hours passing through long stretches of nothingness before arriving. In his childhood, he regularly visited this quiet spot in the town of Paternoster, spending his weekends fishing and diving. Rather than camping on its shores as he once did, Van Schalkwyk has now set roots here. “Mosselbank has a very special place in my heart,” he says. It’s where treasured memories return and new ones crystallise.

Though it buzzes with life, little surrounds the quaint town. The coastline is steps away from understated houses that dot the landscape. “To me, this is the best beach in the Western Cape,” Van Schalkwyk says. Waves crash against black rocks. Birds sit atop the stones, bathing in the sun. On the shore, vibrant coastal flowers add a pop of pink to the white sands and clear skies. “You are absolutely surrounded by beauty,” Van Schalkwyk says.

With its slow pace and wide open spaces, Mosselbank has provided people with refuge for decades. This includes shipwrecked sailors as far back as the 19th century. Once in a while, whales and dolphins burst through the waves. As the sun sets on the horizon, Van Schalkwyk can almost hear the silence. “It is comforting for me to know that I can come to this place,” Van Schalkwyk says. Here, he has all the time in the world.