University is stressful enough without having to worry about your accommodation as well. Unfortunately, the South African cities that host the best-known universities and colleges are facing shortages in student accommodation.
As a student, you’ll likely need to secure suitable accommodation at the start of each academic year. You may also need to find suitable digs at other times of the year, if it becomes necessary to move out of your current premises.
The student accommodation crisis
With the number of new enrolments on the rise each year, finding accommodation for every student is a challenge that has now become a full-blown crisis.
Over-allocation is a serious issue, and universities around the country are struggling to accommodate the number of students that are enrolling each year.
Universities are being called upon to build or acquire enough residences to accommodate all the students that need a place to stay. This is particularly important for students who have relocated in order to study because they often have no one nearby to help them.
Tips for finding student accommodation
Try these tips if you’re currently looking for student accommodation in SA.
Get in touch with your university
If you need to get in touch with your university’s housing department, here are some useful contact details.
Phone: + 27 (0) 21 650 2977
Phone: +27 (0)21 808 9111
Phone and Email: see the website for campus-specific contact details
Phone: +27 (0)46 603 8276
Phone: +27 (0)21 460 4274
Phone: +27 (0)12 420 2181
Phone: +27 (0)21 959 2569
Where to look for alternative accommodation
Another option for students is to find their own accommodation. Not all students have this option because private accommodation is more expensive. But if you do prefer to secure your own accommodation, there are a few places you can look.
An online tool that allows landlords to list their available accommodation. Students just need to search for student accommodation in their area to find all the currently available private digs or student res.
Citiq has a few student residences (called Junctions) in key areas with rooms and shared facilities. They have kitchens, entertainments area, outdoor areas and 24/7 security.
CampusKey offers slightly more expensive student accommodation but it has a lot of added extras that are included in the price, such as free uncapped WI-FI, DSTV, en suite bathrooms and monthly cleaning.
Gumtree is the first place most people look when they need to find a place to stay because it has every type and area listed. Just be careful of scammers on Gumtree, make sure the rental is legitimate and insist on a rental agreement.
What to look for
Here are a few things to take into consideration when you’re looking for a place to stay.
Try to find an area that is relatively close to your campus. Also, do some research into how safe it is and whether or not it’s fairly quiet at night. There’s no point in finding accommodation if you can’t get a good night’s sleep there.
Ideally, you’d like to walk to your campus but if that’s not possible, try to find accommodation close to public transport. If your university or college has a shuttle service in the area, even better.
Check out what shops are in the area. Having some shops or even a mall close by can save you money on travel. It’s also more convenient if you need to pick up some food or study supplies.
Find out what’s on offer in the building or house. Is there a laundry or washing machine that you can use? A communal kitchen? Don’t go overboard and insist on things like swimming pools and gyms, because that will make the rental pricey but the basics are good to have.
Save on space with valet storage
Student accommodation tends to be fairly cramped – and especially if you have a roommate, it can be a struggle to find space for your extra textbooks, sports equipment, seasonal wardrobe items and so on. So what to do with all your extra things?
Valet storage is the ideal solution. SpaceBox will collect your belongings from your res or digs, store them securely and then return them to you when and where you want them. Because you pay per box or item, valet storage costs a lot less than traditional self-storage.