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UCT’s Hidden Gems

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There is more to campus than a bunch of buildings. Find out about the Hidden Gems at UCT. 

There is no doubt that university campus is a step up from the concrete corridors of high schoolArguably, one of the most beautiful university campuses in South Africa is that of UCT upper campus.

Secret Lawns for Sunny Days

What is better than a lounging on a shady lawn on a hot summer afternoon? Most people are satisfied with chatting to friends or indulging in a bit people watching on Jammie Steps. However, some wish for a little more comfort than the deep stone steps in front of Jameson Hall.

UCT has several secluded lawns scattered across campus. The first group is located on either side of Jammie Steps. If you go down Jammie Steps from the Plaza look left (Maths Block) and right (Arts Block) you will see two flat areas which have grassy lawns on either side. Both buildings have small lawns in front of these side entrances. With well-tended flower beds, this is a beautiful place to relax on a sunny day.

The next is located in the Fuller Garden. Go down to the bottom of Jammie Steps and take a right along Residence Road. With Fuller Hall on your left proceed along the length of the resident and keep a look out for a small pedestrian gate just after the end of the building. Going through the gate you find yourself at the beginning of a path with shaded lawns on both sides. A canopy of trees means that there will always be shade for those susceptible to sun burn.

The last lawn is between the Maths Block and the HW Pearson Building. This grassy bank is a great place to enjoy a quiet Meridian lunch hour away from the bustle of Jammie Plaza. You can bask in the sun and even catch forty winks if you so desire.

Rhodes Memorial at Sundowners

There are a number of places to watch sunrise and sunset in Cape Town that provide excellent views. Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, located on the western side of Table Mountain, afford the views the most spectacular sunsets. Rhodes Memorial provides a perfect view of the sunrise over Cape Town because of its position on the eastern slope of the mountain.

Rhodes Memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, the eminent British colonial architect, and dedicated to the Cecil Rhodes in 1912 upon its completion. With larger-than-life bronze statues of eight lions and a horseman it is hard not to feel a sense of awe around the monument.

You can access the memorial via a Rhodes Memorial Street off Ring Road or by taking a short cut across the veld near the Molecular Biology Building. With a thermos full of hot coffee and a packet of rusks it’s a great place to spend some time watching the sun go up before the start of lectures.

Groote Schuur Zoo

It would be unfair to expect current UCT students to know that there was actually a zoo adjacent to the campus, complete with a lion’s den that still stands! The zoo was originally built on Cecil Rhode’s private Groote Schuur estate in 1897 for a pair of lions that were given to him. Following his death, it became the Groote Schuur Zoo and was open to the public until 1975 when it closed down.

The zoo complex is located next to the parking lot opposite the South Stop. Today it is little more than a ruin. The lion pit still exists as does the shallow crocodile pool. A handful of iron cages can be opened – prank opportunities abound!

Even while the zoo was open, there were opportunities for students to get a laugh out of it. College Men ‘liberated’ a donkey from the zoo and rode it down Rondebosch Main Road one night. The donkeys were kept to feed the lions… In a different story, an Ikey Tiger and his friends thought it was a good idea to fetch a lion cub from the zoo. Their attempt failed when three lionesses appeared and tore the Tiger’s leg to pieces!

Higher Taste Cuisine at UCT

If you have grown tired of the culinary offerings of the Food Court or are a serious vegan then there is only one place to get food on campus. Higher Taste is tucked away in a corner of the Leslie Social Science Building. It’s roughly opposite Campus Security or the just around the corner from LS1D, whichever you know better.

It signature offers include tasty curries, rotis and samosas. For those with a sweet tooth, there are apple cinnamon samosas and addictively-good carrot cake.

Benches overlooking the Dam

There are dams located on both sides of the UCT campus. The dam near the North Stop and P6 is by far the closest and best situated. The slope above the dam is forested with Pine trees while the dam itself overlooks a clear field making it an idyllic place.

There are four benches at the bottom of a flight of stairs just above the dam. Being down the slope, you are separated from the noise of the road and cannot even see the campus buildings. It’s a great place to go, chat with friends and forget about the stresses of varsity, especially with a coffee from nearby Super Sandwich in your hand.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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