As a first-year student staying in res at UCT without a car, how easy will it be for me to find my way around Cape Town without having access to a car? There are a lot of places I am hoping to visit, but I’m not sure whether I will be able to do so, as I know Cape Town is a pretty big place
At UCT, due to lack of space, first years are not allowed to park cars on campus. Most students in first year don’t have access to a car in Cape Town. However, this does not mean that getting around the city is unmanageable.
In my first year, I found the most useful form of transportation (aside from my own two feet) was the UCT jammies. While a good deal of the places I wanted to get to were in easy walking distance from res (Newlands Forest, PicknPay, Campus, Devil’s Peak etc), there were places I could not get to by foot as easily, but could make use of the jammie shuttles without difficulty to get to, such as Claremont and the City Centre.
Check out a question asked about the jammie shuttles: How do the Jammie Shuttles work?
For places that the jammie doesn’t get to, there is a train station 3 min walk from Lower Campus which can take you very affordably to many places you might want to go (it’s especially useful getting to the beach at Muizenberg). However, some students would rather not make use of the trains alone or at night due to safety concerns, and they are not particularly reliable in terms of arrival times, and so they are not a good option for those in a rush.
Cape Town has an extensive and well-used Uber service, which is a consistent and fairly reliable way to get anywhere within the city. This is especially useful when travelling in the evenings, when the jammies have finished operating. However, this is more expensive, and so is best used is a group so that costs can be split.
Overall, it is very possible to travel quickly and affordably to most parts of Cape Town, although getting to suburbs further away might be expensive and time-consuming.