As you begin your new academic journey, know that the grounds of the University of Pretoria will become your new home away from home. So what better way to explore your home than by soaking in every available resource? Here are just a few hidden gems which are sure to make those lecture breaks and study days more exciting.


Something for the campus connoisseurs

For the avid foodies, campus is a playground for your tastebuds. The most commonly visited spot is the Student Centre, better known as the Piazza. Here you can treat yourself to the stickiest, creamiest chocolate doughnuts found at Piazza Foods. Piazza Foods is incredibly affordable, with many meals and snacks under R50. Make sure to visit Coffee Buzz, artfully hidden in the Piazza passageway. This is where you can find the tastiest, sauciest chicken strips and chips, which are identifiable through their unique black take-out boxes. Not only are Buzz’s strips and chips to die for, but the atmosphere is perfect for joint study sessions, quick meetups with friends or even just a little escape from the busy student life. Buzz is an ideal ‘Treat Yourself’ location which can keep that student budget in order – these prices range between R45 and R80.

Do not shy away from branching out and exploring all the other great places to eat around campus. For the brew masters, head over to 10z near the Akanyang building to try out the coffee freezos with the welcoming tastes of caramel toffee, white chocolate or cappuccino. And the traditionalists will be happy to know there is a Vida e Caffé right on your doorstep. Be sure to pop in and grab those free Discovery Insurance caffeine fixes. Or get your favourite burgers, ice creams and saucy fries at the Steers located under the Aula. Those who want to sit down for a special date can head over to either Adlers in the Akanyang building or Pure Café in the Club Hall. These are perfect places to have a special sit-down meal or even to get some one-on-one time with tutors, postgrads and lecturers.

Study sanctuaries for the academics

Of course you will need to get some studying done, so why not do it in your own comfortable style? Be sure to spend some time in the sun-lit study area on Level 2 of the Information Technology building. Here you can find cozy spots in every corner and comfy chairs with plugs, desks, and backrests all in one. If that is not enough, maybe the small coffee kiosk with all sorts of snacks and drinks can convince you and get you geared up to be an academic weapon.

For those looking for as little distraction as possible, Level 6 of the Merensky library is perfect to get hours upon hours of peace. Wander through the maze of countless books and find your favourite spot. On Level 3 of Merensky, you will be able to find an open IT lab equipped with computers and printers for all your academic needs. Feel free to bring your own laptop along, as there is access to plug points and Wi-Fi not only here but all around campus. Do not be shy to spontaneously walk into Merensky – only the Group Study Areas require bookings. Here you can work in groups to get those ideas flowing.           

For kinesthetic and auditory learners, the grass outside the Old Arts and Akanyang buildings provides lovely shady spots where you can move around and study aloud.


How-to for step counters

Remember, you also need to keep that heart pumping with some exercise. An easy way to do this on campus is to follow the Campus Fitness Trails scattered everywhere you walk. Just look for the red or yellow animal prints and you will be on your way. Some parts of these disappear in interesting places… All the better for exploring every little nook and cranny.

If you are a full-on fitness junkie, then be sure to catch the bus to Hillcrest campus, better known as LC de Villiers. Here you can find running trails for kilometres! There are also countless fields, the RAG Farm and the most romantic date spot overlooking two of UP’s dams. Furthermore,

Hillcrest has lovely braai areas, lots of parking and plenty of shady spots – perfect for any occasion. What better way is there to spend a study break?


Sweet spots for the venturous

Lastly, we all need a moment to breathe, and UP is filled with hidden spaces that allow for this unwinding. Make sure to go to the Lunch Hour concerts every Thursday at the Musaion Theatre, where every week brings a different, awe-inspiring performance by UP lecturers and students. Dreamers may also be interested in the museums on Hatfield campus that are open to all students, namely the Old Merensky building, the Old Arts building, Javett Art Centre, and Sci-Enza. These are filled with moments captured by UP students as well as all sorts of historical archives. Be sure to go experience one of South Africa’s most revered artefacts – the Golden Rhino – right here on UP soil. And for the animal lovers, take a walk down to Hillcrest campus and spend some time with the sweet cows at Innovation Africa. Yes, UP even has its own cows!


Campus can be an adventure-filled oasis that brings something new to your everyday routine, and there is truly something for everyone. Be sure to take in every sip of glory UP has to offer and remember to go off the path sometimes to discover all sorts of hidden gems.

Domonique Bennets
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