How to Establish a Bed and Breakfast or Guesthouse | Western Cape Government

How to Establish a Bed and Breakfast or Guesthouse


A Bed & Breakfast establishment (B&B) is an informal, periodic accommodation operation undertaken from the private dwelling. The maximum number of guest bedrooms in a B&B is three. (Any application received by the authorities for a B&B establishment with more than three bedrooms is automatically treated as a Guest House.)

A Guest House is a commercial accommodation establishment offering between 4-16 bedrooms, which has as its primary source of business the supply of tourist accommodation. Breakfast and dinner are made available to guests, particularly where dinner is not readily available in the vicinity of the establishment.


Parking: Is there enough parking in the surrounds to accommodate your customers, and can they park safely and conveniently?

Your B&B:

  • Is your site quiet enough for people to sleep undisturbed?
  • Are the street surrounds neat, well kept and regularly maintained?
  • Is the site free of unpleasant odours, rubbish etc.?

Equipment: Have you got adequate catering equipment, cutlery, crockery, serving place etc. to cater for the number of people you plan to host?


  • Have you considered all the safety and security aspects related to your business?
  • For example, have you got fire extinguishers appropriately placed for easy access?
  • Have you ensured the safety of your customers with regard to their motor cars, security of establishment, access to a telephone for emergencies, a well-equipped First Aid Kit etc.?

Health: Health Regulations must be adhered to. Have you contacted your local council for health regulations and requirements related to eating and catering establishments?


  • Have you considered whether your establishment is attractive and inviting and will lure people to come and stay?
  • You should consider an attractive colour scheme, cleanliness of the whole environment, pleasant and welcoming staff and good signage and information on your B&B.
  • Comfortable beds are a must, with adequate linen and blankets, and your bathrooms must be clean and well kept with everything working.


For a Bed & Breakfast

Check with your Local Council on the policy that sets the standads for B&B establishments. Some common standards are:

  • A minimum of 50% of lettable rooms is to be maintained for private home use.
  • Minium facilities for guests should be: a bedroom, access to a bathroom and toilet separate to that of the hosts, a dining room area where breakfast is served.
  • Breakfast is the only meal that needs to be served to guests.
  • The residential character of the home is to be maintained.
  • All facilities and breakfast are for the sole use of registered guests, and utilisation of gardens etc. is at the owner's discretion.
  • No kitchen facilities are provided to guests in their rooms.
  • There should be one parking space per lettable room.
  • There must be a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, which is regularly tested.

For a Guest House

The above would mostly apply to a guest house as well, with the exception of only serving breakfast, as a Guest House may choose to serve dinner. A Guest House may also wish to serve liquor on the premises, and therefore a liquor licence would be needed.

Ensure that you have consulted your Local authorities on the policy that governs the establishment of a B&B or Guest House in your area. You need to be sure that you are in line with all legislation in terms of licensing, signage, regional planning etc.


Application for and granting of a trade licence:

The Local Council will circulate your application to the relevant Health, Fire and Building Inspectors, to Town planning etc. who will ensure that your business plans for your business comply with their regulations.


Signage for local roads in the Local Municipality areas can be arranged through the Local Tourism Bureau in the Municipality. For signage on National Raods and secondary roads, the Regional Tourism Liaison Committee (RTLC) can be contacted for the processing and issuing of signs. Contact Ms Itumeleng Pooe, The Director: Tourism Regulation, at 021 483 8759, for contact details of the RTLC in your region.


Find out from your Local Council if your Local planning structures allow for your chosen business activity on the site you have selected.


Liquor Licence

For application and granting of a Liquor Licence you need to talk to the Liquor Board and apply for a licence in terms of legislation.

The content on this page was last updated on 15 March 2014