South Africa is home to countless towns and cities, each with their own unique flavour and personality. Over the next few weeks, we will be profiling the big, bustling cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg and giving you the lowdown on what makes these cities tick and what they have to offer in terms of academic institutions.
Whether you’re planning a visit or relocating to start your university career in a new city, this series of posts will give you a little taster of what to expect in three of Mzansi’s favourite places. This week, we turn our attention to Cape Town.
Cape Town is synonymous with mountains, beaches and beauty. The Mother City is South Africa’s oldest city and boasts a diverse natural landscape, a rich cultural and political history, and a laid-back atmosphere that few people can resist.
The city is also home to four prestigious tertiary institutions, two of which are ranked in South Africa’s top three universities according to Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE).
University of Cape Town (UCT)
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is not only the top South Africa’s top ranking university, according to Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE) it is also the best tertiary institution on the African continent. Situated on one of the most picturesque campuses you’ll visit anywhere in the world, UCT is the oldest higher education institute in the country, founded in 1829 as the South African College. Today the university has over 5,000 staff members and 25,000 students enrolled in degree and post-graduate programmes across 6 faculties. The law and commerce faculties at UCT are consistently ranked in the top 100 internationally and employers consider graduates from UCT as some of the best in the country. As well as high quality education, the student life at UCT is excellent with 36 sports clubs and over 80 student societies.
Stellenbosch University (SU)
Although not situated in Cape Town itself, Stellenbosch University (SU) is located a short drive away from the Mother City in the scenic town of Stellenbosch. It is also highly ranked, placing 3rd in South Africa in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. With upwards of 30,000 students studying across 10 different faculties, SU offers a range of top quality degree programmes with its Agriculture & Forestry and Biological Sciences faculties being ranked as the best in the country. The university is also known as an excellent knowledge hub for the technology sector in the region and has helped to incubate and accelerate a number of successful tech start-ups.
University of the Western Cape (UWC)
Situated in the northern suburb of Bellville in Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is the fourth biggest tertiary institution in the Western Cape with more than 20,000 students across 7 faculties. Among other achievements, the university has developed an international reputation for developing free and open source software solutions, and open academic resources. As well as its academic pedigree, UWC has a proud history of inclusion and is committed to promoting access, equity and quality in higher education. It has a vibrant and diverse student community and offers a number of social and sporting clubs and societies.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
Established in 2005 after the merger of Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) is the province’s only university of technology and also the largest tertiary institution in the Western Cape with over 32,000 students. Whereas the other 3 universities offer traditional degree and post-graduate programmes, CPUT confers National Diplomas and B-Tech degrees, as well as various post-graduate courses and certifications. With 5 campuses across Cape Town, the large majority of courses offered at CPUT incorporate in-service training and the university has a comprehensive co-operative education policy that ensures students are placed in companies approved by the university.
Lifestyle and fun stuff
As well as the great academic institutions mentioned above, Cape Town is home to some fabulous natural monuments and wonderful scenery. At the heart of the city is the majestic Table Mountain which offers endless hours of beautiful hiking. The fact that the city is located on a peninsula means there is no shortage of stunning beaches to visit but be careful of the freezing cold water, it’s not for the faint of heart! The Mother City is South Africa’s top tourist destination for a reason and boasts some amazing restaurants and night-life, as well as a number of great museums and galleries. Drive in any direction from Cape Town and you’ll find something new and exquisite so it’s the perfect place to take a road trip and lose yourself.
If you’re moving down to Cape Town to start your tertiary studies or simply popping in for a visit, you won’t be disappointed!