Savannah Carvalheiro
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The advent of the new year may sweep you up in thoughts of self-improvement and the commitment to be a dedicated student. However, it is equally important to entertain yourself and alleviate the stress of student life with enjoyable weekend activities. While for some people, the consensus is that Pretoria is a boring city, others laud it as the student hub for every imaginable cultural indulgence. Dabble in this quiz to see how familiar you are with the many fun-filled group hangout spots that PTA has to offer.

Perhaps your chosen method of relaxation involves partaking in a sport that requires you to outmaneuver your opponent without rendering you breathless. This location is a dimly lit room that is buzzing with youngsters moving back and forth while they ‘call shot’. This secret location demands that its entrants use techniques and strategies that will leave their opposition behind them to secure their victory. The Crucible Billiards Room, situated 9,8 km from UP’s main campus, is a sight for sore eyes. Their satiating drinks and the rhythmic clunking of balls being cued on numerous available pool tables create an exemplary atmosphere for enjoying a game of pool while ensuring that you and your squad stay refreshed.

Seeking an outdoor break away from the books with a fey romantic twist? This next stop is an other-worldly experience that is perfect for friends, or those looking to be more than just that (wink wink). If thoughts of floral-scented perfumes and a luscious exhibition of vibrant roses flooded your mind, then you guessed correctly. Ludwig’s Roses offers escapism from not only the intense focus of studying but also life’s worries. The impressive array of various rose species and the charming tractor ride make this a fun destination. Students can visit with their romantic interest to enjoy an arranged picnic, gather as a group to take in the fragrances and savour scrumptious meals at the Rose Kitchen, or treat their dogs to an exciting new environment with a leisurely stroll. To reserve a picnic spot, an advanced payment and proof of payment should be sent via email.

Whether you identify as the ‘party animal’ in your friend group and whether your friends share similar sentiments are two significantly different questions. If Saigon Suzy’s karaoke appeals to both you and your friends, then the answer to both questions is a resounding yes, as your vigorous pursuit to win a crowd indicates that you are fearless. Thus, the word decantophobia (the fear of singing in public) should not appear in your dictionary. Located just 3,8 km from Hatfield campus, Saigon Suzy is the ideal spot to indulge in delectable Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, and Japanese cuisine. Two private karaoke rooms are accessible at a rate of R1000 for the first hour and then R200 per hour thereafter. It is an offbeat activity that can strengthen the squad through shared singing, hopefully onbeat. If not? Then at least it will be something to laugh about while eating a bún chả good food. Grab your friends! Split R1000 four, eight, or however many ways, and have a blast.

Is your mode of stress alleviation dependent on boosting your endorphins? Do you find yourself to be the over achiever of your friend group? Are you overly competitive but also eager to bond with your buddies through both the struggles of Thuto test halls and shared sweat-induced tears? This sport surely hits the sweat spot and will have you potentially serving your friends a lot of love during the game. If your guess was tennis or squash, you came within an ‘ace’ of winning, but not quite. Padel is a combination of both. There are many padel courts near UP’s main campus, including Africa Padel Brooklyn (3 km away) and Village Padel Pretoria (3,8 km). Accessing these facilities is as simple as downloading the Playtomic app on your cell phone, creating an account and making a reservation. The cost is R400 per hour, but playing with four people allows you to split the amount among the group so that each pays R100 through the ‘pay your part’ button at checkout. Renting a ‘pala’ (a padel racket) is R50, and purchasing a sleeve of balls is an additional R130. Thus, it is recommended that you bring your own tennis balls for the game.

How many of these locations were you able to guess correctly or were you at least aware of? If you know all of them, rest assured that your friends are not gatekeeping the fun from you. If most of these places were unknown to you, perhaps your knowledge of Pretoria’s hidden gems is far more advanced. Regardless, hopefully you have discovered a few more group activity ideas within a reasonable distance from the main campus for those times when you and your mates need some fun to balance out the academics.