The Study in Studying Abroad: Cape Town Edition

Darcy Jones
October 18, 2018

How is it even possible to study for final exams while studying abroad? In Cape Town, it feels especially difficult because the weather is starting to warm up, and I am realizing I only have a month left to plow through my neverending bucket list. With finals just around the corner, though, we’ve had to think back on what spots around Cape Town have been the best for settling in for a day of studying. Below is a list of some of my personal favorites, since it can be hard to navigate which coffee shops are welcoming to bulky backpacks and hours of WiFi usage:

Saint James

This small coffee shop is nestled right off the main strip of Observatory. It has retro vibes with a fun red coffee machine, black and white tiling, and potted plants. It’s fairly small, but not too crowded most weekday afternoons. It’s a great place to get work done after classes!

UCT Economics Building - Middle Campus

The Economics building on middle campus has indoor and outdoor seating, with a great view of Devil’s Peak through beautiful ivy. It’s the perfect spot for working with a group or getting readings done. In addition, many coffee shops tend to close early on the weekends, so it has been nice for getting work done later in the afternoon.

Truth Coffee

This place is world famous – and for a reason. The coffee and food are delicious, so it’s a great spot to go and try every food item on the menu when you want to procrastinate studying. Definitely check it out if you like steampunk and quirky décor. However, they only have one hour of free WiFi, so best to know exactly what you are hoping to accomplish before you go.

UCT Libray - First Floor

I love the UCT library and spend a lot of time at the tables on the far side of the first floor. Here, you can spread your stuff out and study with a friend. I’ve found that people also don’t stick around for too long during the day so if you wait, a table is bound to free up. I’ve found it’s great for getting a little bit of work done between classes.

UCT Library - Fifth Floor

The fifth floor has big round tables that escape the constant chaos of the first few floors. Here, you’re free to chat with friends or work on group work openly. I find that I like to come here when I’m in the mood to study around some white noise. Of course, there are also large cubicles for serious studying when necessary.

No Fixed Address

NFA, located in Obs, is a hidden gem. The inside is a bookstore with a few tables to study at, but in the back, there is a really nice canopy area with plenty of tables and fun artwork. It’s the perfect place to set up shop for the day.

Field Office in Woodstock

There are a couple of locations of Field Office in Cape Town, but my favorite is on Salisbury Road in Woodstock. When I have been, it has not been crowded and I’ve had great coffee and food. The atmosphere is very bright and airy, and I find it easy to get a lot of work done.

Mugg and Bean Claremont

Who can resist bottomless coffee? Mugg and Bean has a few locations, but I usually Jammie to the one in Cavendish mall. I prefer the second-floor section, where it is often less crowded, and we can take our laptops out. I am also a huge iced coffee fan, which I have struggled to find in Cape Town (“iced” coffee here tends to mean a blended, Frappuccino-type drink). Here, though, they have an iced coffee mixed with condensed milk – an absolute treat that I had never tried before Mugg and Bean!

Seattle Coffee Co. Claremont

You can’t go wrong with Seattle Coffee Co. Also located in the mall in Claremont, they have a delicious jumbo-sized chocolate muffin that is sure to motivate any academic tasks you bring with you. I also like how they have smaller circular tables for individual studying and larger tables to study with friends.

Haas Collective Coffee

This spot is similar to Truth in that it’s a little dim and has some funky décor. It also has great food, though not too many people were doing work. Even so, it’s good for getting a group of friends and going for a heavy breakfast and light studying.

Studying for finals might not be my favorite past time but being in Cape Town and getting to explore different study destinations certainly makes it easier. Of course, I want to add that this list is by no means complete. There are tons of new coffee shops popping up and others that have gone unexplored by me, so definitely utilize google maps and other online blogs!


Darcy Jones

<p>Hi! I'm junior at Wake Forest University studying economics and sociology. I spent the first seven years of my life in Africa, so it was a no-brainer that I wanted to study there in college. Home is right outside of DC, where I embrace the opportunity to act like a tourist in my own city. For me, a perfect day would entail a trip to the beach, true crime dramas, and roasted brussels sprouts.</p>

Home University:
Wake Forest University
Fall Church, VA
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