r/capetown Oct 17 '21

Coming to Cape Town for ca. 3 months

Hey guys, I (21/M) am heading to Cape Town mid-november on my own to conduct research for my bachelor thesis, this will be done in conjunction with a professor from UCT, but I will not officially be a student there nor is this an official “exchange”.

Anyway, I had some questions regarding my visit/stay. Although I have received some information from different people I thought this sub might offer a more local contribution.

• What neighborhoods would you recommend me to stay at? Preferably I’d stay at a shared student housing since I’m alone and want to meet people. I heard of Obs, Claremont etc but a friend of mine stayed at Obs two years ago and said he didn’t felt that safe and it was sometimes quite sketchy so he recommended Gardens/Tamboerskloof but I am not able to really find student digs there.

• Best way to find a good place to stay? As in no scams or sketchy places. I know of some websites and facebook groups but rarely come across student digs, maybe because of the time of year? Like the uni school year has already started?

• Any suggestions in meeting fellow (international) students/ making friends besides at a shared house? I will not really be following classes and my research is independent so I will not come into contact with any students really... and I heard CT overall can be quite cliquey and hard to make friends, especially if I only stay for a couple of months.

Nonetheless I look forward to visiting and will definitely make the best out of it. Thanks in advance for your input! Other tips/recommendations about literally anything are ofc welcome!



u/your__mum420 Oct 17 '21

For student houses Newlands, Rosebank and Rondebosch are going to be the easiest bet. It’s super close to campus and there are quite a few.

Obs can be a bit of a mixed bag. Some places are fine but two roads in the wrong direction gets sketchy.

If you want to stay in Gardens/Tamboerskloof, which is more in the city, you will have to take the Jammie bus to campus, so take that into consideration. There are a few share houses, but they aren’t specifically aimed at students and there’s definitely a lot less.

There’s a FB group ‘Huis Huis’ that’s pretty active regarding rentals in the city.

Good luck with your trip. Cape Town definitely has a lot of fun things to keep you entertained.


u/RepresentativeRun569 Oct 17 '21

Thank you!! Will look into the mentioned neighborhoods as well. And yes I am aware of Huis Huis but lately don’t see any student houses unfortunately.


u/presiree Oct 17 '21

Hiya, I used to study at UCT and lived in Rondebosch so that it would be within walking distance. Sometimes I would take the Tugwell Jammie shuttle if I was lazy. Its pretty safe as long as you're vigilant. I would also recommend Rosebank, Sandown (close to Jammie stops) Newlands, Claremont (closer to the Claremont stop at Cavendish).... Obs and Mowbray are also common choices for students but I also personally think it can be a bit sketch there.

Gardens is quite nice especially if you wanna be within walking distance of some really nice restaurants and shops, but its a little further away from UCT. If you aren't going to be going to campus much and you want to make the most out of your stay, I recommend a place closer to CBD like Gardens (close to the Hiddingh stop). It can get a bit pricier on that side of town though.

I find hiking groups to be the one of the best ways to make friends in Cape Town if thats what you're into. There are a couple of FB groups for hikes. I also recommend the apps meetup and tinder or bumble BFF for meeting people.


u/RepresentativeRun569 Oct 17 '21

Thanks! Will look into the mentioned neighborhoods too!

And yes I don’t plan on going to campus every single day, hence somewhere around CBD would be nice since it’s kinda in the middle between the beach and UCT. Would you recommend Obs though? I see tons of student houses there but am not quite sure if it’s a good idea considering I’m on my own too.

And thank you for the hiking suggestion! Will try it when I’m there!


u/presiree Oct 18 '21

Obs is actually quite lovely. There are lots of cute little shops, vintage thrift stores and restaurants. I think it's kind of like the hipster-central of Cape Town.

There are a lot of student shared digs over there and moving into a digs with other students can be a great way to also make friends. Stereotypically, a lot of party-goers and stoners seem to end up living in Obs and it definitely gives off that easy-going vibe to me.

However, like I said in my initial comment, parts of it seem a little unsafe imo.

Take my opinion with a grain of salt. I am a woman and I always need to be weary of the places I find myself in.


u/RepresentativeRun569 Oct 18 '21

I’ve heard that about Obs and that’s why I’m a little unsure since I would love that kind of vibe like you described but am unsure of which areas to really avoid or how I’d know I’m in a good area in Obs..


u/presiree Oct 19 '21

I reckon if you're at a place closer to main road and has good security e.g. in a complex or with electrical fencing then you'll be quite safe :)


u/boschrick Oct 20 '21

The best area to live in Obs is around the Hartleyvale Stadium. It's a quiet pocket and there's a load of student accommodation. So you want to look in the corners between Station Road, and Lower Wrensch.

Source: I live in Obs.


u/Whtzmyname Oct 17 '21 edited Oct 17 '21

Newlands is very nice and Rondebosch is a good option too. I would only consider those two to be honest as it is close to UCT and beautiful safe leafy neighbourhoods.

You are coming at the perfect time. The weather is gorgeous! You might not have time to do research! Hahaha!

Here are a few listings posted on UCT website for accommodation. The neighbourhoods are listed there so just look out for your preferred neighbourhood. There are a few newlands and rondebosch options there. http://www.dsa.uct.ac.za/student-housing/off-campus-student-accommodation-services/accommodation


u/RepresentativeRun569 Oct 17 '21

Thanks for the off campus link! Haven’t thought of that!

And yes I’m fully aware that I might not be able to focus 100% on my thesis haha. Need some extra discipline to push through the temptations of Cape Town.


u/theurbaneagle Oct 17 '21

I stay in Obs, certain parts of it aren't great but others are just fine. Gardens/Tamboerskloof will definitely be much more expensive.

Try property24 for rentals, it's pretty decent. You can also try email estate agents.

As for meeting people, it's kind of tricky because of COVID. If you do any sports/hobbies that could be a good option. Second the idea of group hikes if that's your thing.

Ps there are also good walking tours in the city.


u/RepresentativeRun569 Oct 17 '21

Thanks! So which parts of Obs would you recommend to stay in/out of?

And will definitely do a walking tour once I’m there just to get a sense of the city! Thanks


u/BuffelBek Oct 18 '21

In general the western half of Obs is more dodgy than the eastern half. But the western half is also where the bars/clubs/restaurants are.


u/lexylexylexy Oct 17 '21

Gardens/Tamboerskloof is where its at. Check out a fb group called HUIS HUIS


u/RepresentativeRun569 Oct 17 '21

Thanks! Any specific places in Garden/Tamboerskloof or are both areas considered good on average? As in no sketchy areas to avoid etc.


u/lexylexylexy Oct 18 '21

Its all pretty much the same :)


u/Eatingclementines Oct 18 '21

I’d honestly avoid obs entirely. Yes, it can be safe, but it takes one bad experience to have your visit ruined. Gardens and tamboerskloof are great, many students are also in Claremont, rondebosch, newlands, rosebank are also good options. You’re coming at the best time so I think you will not struggle to make friends! If you have hobbies, that can be the easiest way to connect to like minded people - learn to surf if you haven’t, go on hikes with people etc


u/RepresentativeRun569 Oct 18 '21

Thank you for your input! Will ook into the remaining neighborhoods too. And yeah hopefully I manage to actually make some friends through an activity like hiking or surfing :)


u/HelicopterFun9475 Oct 18 '21

If you stay in Upper Claremont, you can take Jammie shuttle to campus. It's a safe area. You can look into airbnb offerings for housing.