Living as a student in Potchefstroom: where to stay, what to do and how to enjoy it

student in Potchefstroomstudent in Potchefstroom
student in Potchefstroomstudent in Potchefstroom

Living as a student in Potchefstroom: where to stay, what to do and how to enjoy it

First of all, where is Potchefstroom and why would you be studying there? Potchefstroom is a small town in the North-West province, 120km from Johannesburg. And the reason why you would want to study there is because one of the North-West University campuses is situated there. Their campus life is all about community and providing quality education. If you’re in the area, you’re going to want to try and get into this university.

Let’s take a look at where you can stay, what you can do and how you can enjoy your time studying in the little town of Potch.


Get your car

Before you do anything else, you’re going to want to find and buy a car. There are affordable used cars for sale in Potchefstroom that will have the perfect student car for your pocket and your needs. It is a small town and you may argue that you won’t need a car to get to campus or the shops because everything is so close, but take it from the people who live there – you’re going to need to take a break from your campus town at some point.

And unless you plan on staying within your walking-fitness radius for the entire year, you need a car to get around the area and see what else Potch has to offer. Hence, the need for a car.


Student housing

The North-West University encourages students to stay on campus or as close to campus as possible. Not only for the convenience of travel and less excuse to be late for lectures, but also for the student community and social events that happen in the area.

A few student housing places for you to consider (all in the immediate campus area) include, but most certainly aren’t limited to:

  • HakunaMatata Student House
  • Teelkas Girls Hostel
  • Lavaria Girls Hostel
  • Campus Key
  • Pukki-Verblyf Student Accommodation

But if you don’t manage to get into one of these student houses, there are still more on campus and even a few just off campus – a three-minute drive away in your new used car, if you will.


Locate the mall

The good news is that your town has a mall... a single mall being the not so good news, especially if you’re coming from a larger city. But, the point is, there is a mall and it’s only a seven-minute drive from the university (there’s that need for a car again).

From Monday to Saturday they open at 9am and close at 6pm and their Sunday trading hours are between 10am and 3pm. Here you can enjoy SterKinekor theatres, your usual takeaway guilty pleasures and your usual fashion, electronics and department store outlets.

The uniqueness of this mall is in its location and building design. It is built right above the Mooi River, which can be seen through the mall’s glass flooring.


Visit the Sebrines flea market

Another activity in close proximity to the university is the Sebrines Fair flea market that happens every Saturday between 08:30 and 14:00. You’ll find handmade and homemade crafts and food goodies at student-friendly prices.

It’s a good place to get your fresh fruits and vegetables for the week as well as the homemade confectionary items that will remind you of home and bring the comfort you need. It’s also (mostly) an excuse to get out of studying for a while on a Saturday that isn’t too far and makes for the perfect study break.


Study in the botanical garden

Speaking of studying, if your student house is feeling a little crowded or stressed-out, take your study books to the botanical garden on the North-West University campus and escape for a bit amongst the peace of the plants and artworks. It’s open from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm. You could even come here between lectures when some down-time is needed.


Go to the animal park

If you prefer wildlife to plantlife, you can take a drive to the Buffelsvlei Wild Animal Park just outside of Potchefstroom. It’s the type of place that you can make a day out of so grab some friends, some snacks for the road (even if it is only a 22km drive) and ready yourself for a whole lot of fun.

Your options, aside from the standard game drive, include hiking, cycling, quad biking or horse riding game trails, paintballing, hunting, and even clay pigeon shooting. Buffelsvlei Wild Animal Park is probably one of the more exciting and adventurous places to visit in Potchefstroom and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy yourself after an exam period.


Get out of Potch

The last thing you need to know about living as a student in Potch is that sometimes you really just need to get out of Potch. Get into your car, the one you’re now extremely grateful you bought when you got there, and just drive. Drive to any of the neighbouring towns just to see a landscape slightly different to the one you’re now used to. Plan a roadtrip with some university friends and visit the larger cities of South Africa and enjoy what they have to offer.

Give Potch a break every now and then and you’ll come to appreciate it a little bit more when university starts again.

student in Potchefstroom