Unless its Oxford, Harvard or Trinity College then I wouldn’t usually put visiting a University on a list of things to do in a city. But UCT is really a beautiful campus and can easily be added to a trip to Kirstenbosch Gardens or Newlands Forest.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is actually South Africa’s oldest university and was founded in 1829. That certainly beats my alma mater, Lancaster University which was built in 1964. Some of the first departments to be established were the departments of mineralogy and geology which aimed to meet the needs of those working in the diamond and gold mining industries. It now places in the top 20 in the world for mineral processing.
It is pretty accessible to walk around the campus, but be aware if you are coming by car one entrance the staff did ask for your ID card (luckily the Mineral Processing boyfriend came to the rescue), but if approaching on foot I think you’ll have no problem. Make sure you head to this spot in the photo above to get these spectacular views if you turn your back on the mountain you get this view below.
I’d advice adding this to your ‘other side of Table Mountain’ itinerary. What I mean by that is, the front view of Table Mountain is where the water front is but the other side of the mountain, where the Cape Town suburbs are, hosts a few activities, such as Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Newlands Forest. From Newlands Forest to UCT (Upper Campus) its just a 20 minute walk and from Kirstenbosch its a 1h10m walk but just a 6 minute drive. It should also be noted that another place close by is Rhodes Memorial which is located behind and above UCT. However due to the fires in April 2021 Rhodes Memorial remained closed at the time of writing in July.
So make yourself feel like a student again by wandering around the campus and taking photos of the beautiful architecture.