It was dark when I left our room to go to the bathroom on the other side of the small nautical courtyard. I had to stop dead in my tracks. It was a warm summer’s night – the first evening of the new year – and the moon was full or close to it. It bathed the wooden deck chairs and fishnets in a silverblue light, outshone only by quick flashes of brightness from Africa’s southernmost lighthouse. I stepped out of the courtyard to admire the light, and it was magnificently surreal. The red-and-white tower was 150 meters away, but the light swung so powerfully around its neck in a bright white beam that I felt like we were right underneath it; like we were the lighthouse-keepers. And save for the actual lighthouse-keepers, I realised that I was probably the southernmost person on the continent right then – there under the light of the stars and the moon and the lighthouse. And we probably would be the southernmost people the whole night, because we were staying at Southermost B&B, in the southernmost private bedroom on the entire continent of Africa.
Staying at Southermost B&B is really not like any other accommodation experience. The house was built in 1929, have passed ownership only twice, and has changed little in its 80+ years. The ceilings are low, the white-washed walls are thick, the rooms are decked out in familial vintage furniture, there are no TVs, and there is no en-suite option. You can find instead a jug of water, a tin bowl, some glasses and hand towels on a small table in the bedroom. The historic character of the house has been beautifully preserved and staying at Southermost B&B is more of an experience where you get to slow down and freeze time and travel back in time simultaneously. The toilet is across the Mediterranean-style courtyard, the shower is two steps across the yard, and our breakfast with fresh fruits and a pot of strong coffee was set out in a tiny, bright breakfast nook decorated with faded photographs and chalky seas shells. And it was a welcome breakfast which we enjoyed in the fynbos garden, with a view of the place where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.
The charm of this historic villa is only helped by the warm welcome received from Meg, who manages and maintains Southernmost B&B (and co-owns it with her two sisters), and who also is, seemingly, an olympic-level gardener and artist. She showed us to our room as if we were old friends returning for a visit.
It was a slow morning of waking up to our window with a view to the two oceans, the salty smell of sea hanging in the air, and wishing we could stay another night, or two, or three. After coffee and beskuit (we eat as much beskuit as we can whenever we visit home), we strolled along the short boardwalk towards the actual southernmost tip of Africa, a short 15-minute walk from our blue ocean-weatherworn front door. And despite being happily surprised by the Kaapse Klopse – a Capetonian tradition also called ‘the 2nd New Year,’ in which minstrel clubs dress up in bright colours and go marching in the streets playing traditional songs with brass instruments – we did all of this slowly, as if spending time in the quiet old beach house made us believe that we had all the time we wanted.
Southermost B&B is really well priced, considering its charm and especially its location – even for South Africans. We found it on Airbnb, and we are not surprised to see that Meg is an Airbnb Superhost. (If you haven’t used Airbnb before – and we highly recommend it – use this link to sign up and get a sweet £25 discount from us)
You can also book by calling or emailing Southermost B&B directly.
Heads up! Southermost B&B closes over the winter months.
Head down to South Africa, and go as far south as you can, until you reach the sleepy beach town of Cape Agulhas. Follow its streets as it bends around the coastal bays, past the fish and chips shops, past the holiday market stalls selling firewood, ice cream cones and pancakes, past the icy cold tidal pool, until the very last house (or, quite literally, the very first house of Africa’s southernmost reach).
That is, right on the corner of Lighthouse Street and Van Breda Street.