How to find student accommodation in Observatory

The ultimate guide for finding student accommodation in Observatory,  Cape Town
Observatory is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Cape Town for international / exchange students. In this neighbourhood you will find over 40 student houses which are mostly occupied by international students who are conducting either an internship, volunteering program or exchange program in Cape Town.  There are many reasons why Observatory is a popular accommodation hub for international students, the location and price for value are definitely among those reasons.


Student Accommodaiton Observatory

A great picture that shows the great vibes of Observatory, Cape Town  


It is no wonder that Observatory is referred to as Obs, by people who adore this South African neighbourhood. The Bohemian Suburb of Cape Town is a popular accommodation hub for international students for short term or long term plans for their studies, internships or volunteering programmes. Well, there are three factors we could consider as reasons for this popularity: The first one being its proximity to prestigious institutions like the University of Cape Town as well as the South African Astronomical Observatory. The second reason is the price a student pays for accommodation in a student home in Observatory is definitely worth every penny. The experience of living with hippies and people from different walks of life is definitely something they will cherish forever. The third one is the place itself in all its natural glory. If you want to run away to the mountains for solitude then you can do so without any hassles or if you want to soak under the sun on the shore then you can head to beach in no time. Oh! We can’t get enough of this place already and we have just another reason. This dates back to history, wherein, during the years of the Apartheid, Obs was one of the hubs that saw people across all races living together. This trace of multiculturalism exists even today, making it a popular destination for people from all walks of life. The Cape Town Magazine paints a picture of life at Obs for us: “ People from various walks of life find themselves calling this area home. Youngsters, students, artists, philosophers, actors, backpackers and all kinds of weirdos engage in alcohol-fuelled debates about philosophy, politics, jazz, organic food, books, history and the arts. Enter any café in Obs by yourself and you simply know you will leave with a new friend, philosophy or self-produced poem.” All of this and more has impressed a large number of people who are spoilt for choices when it comes to choosing a bar to spend the evening at or a cafe to indulge in some soul stirring live music, all clustered around the Lower Main Road.  

Cape Town Vibes, Student Rooms Abroad

So, welcome to the Bohemian Suburb of Cape Town!

We’re sure your adrenalin is pumping and we can’t wait to see you have the time of your life in Observatory. We’ve gathered some information that would be useful for you to know with regard to finding quality affordable student accommodation in Observatory.


There are about 40 student accommodation in the neighbourhood of Observatory. Most students opt to stay in a student house shared by 3 to 8 other international/local flatmates. As we’ve mentioned in our other posts, it is recommended you find an accommodation that hosts a good mix of both, international and local folks. The fellow overseas students would be up for any adventurous plan you make the locals could give you an authentic feel of the neighbourhood.


Because Obs offers such great money for value many international students prefer to stay in this neighbourhood. This made this place a very lively place to stay where you will find a lot of other international students. You will meet them either in the one of the student flats or in one of the many bars located in Observatory. One of these bars is the Foreign Exchange Bar, which was one of the first bars around that realised how many international students Cape Town and in particular Obs is hosting. But you will not only find international students here, this bar is also popular among the locals in Obs.


Unlike what most people think, accommodation in Cape Town is not cheap. The peak season for incoming exchange students is between November and March. During this period, due to the high demand for student housing and limited available space, there is an automatic price hike not just for student housing in Observatory but also other neighbourhoods of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

As in the case of other cities, prices for student accommodation here as well varies from place to place depending on the neighbourhood, the amenities and facilities provided with the house, size of the house and the room itself. The advantage of Observatory over other neighbourhoods is that whilst in the latter it is more common to find student housing to cost around 250 to 400 USD or even 500 to 600 USD at times, in the former, one could find a nice place to live in for anything between 250 to 350 USD.



Whilst accommodation is comparatively more affordable in Observatory, you need to allocate your transport funds accordingly.  Obs is sandwiched between Woodstock and Mowbray and is about 15 minutes from the City Centre. However, if you want to reach the city, you have two options: you can either hop onto a train from the little train station at Observatory or you take a taxi bus, which is faster. The second option costs you a dollar per ride. Unfortunately, there are no MyCityBus stops available as of yet in Observatory, which by the way, is a great public bus transportation in Cape Town that is gaining popularity amongst the locals and Cape Town tourists. They’re also expanding their travel routes, so you can stay updated by tracking their website:



There are various options if you want to book your accommodation in Observatory as an international or exchange student.  Here are some pointers to keep in mind while doing so:

  1. Probably the first thing that comes to your mind is Google search (obviously!).In doing so, you will be overloaded with information clutter and to declutter this will be quite a task.
  2. Narrowing down your research to booking websites could refine your search. In this case again, you would be bombarded with various local South African websites and International ones. Speaking of local websites, the most popular one that you would bump into would be Gumtree, South Africa’s own Ebay. It is a popular accommodation search engine. You can find a list of landlords who post advertisements offering their properties for student accommodation in Observatory. Although, your options may be on the higher side here, it is important to remember that this housing solutions may not always suit your international student accommodation requirements and may have regulations that differ from that of an exchange or intern looking out for short term accommodation in Observatory.  And as we’ve mentioned before, beware of online platforms, where you get in touch with unscreened owners who demand that a deposit be paid upfront in order to fulfill your booking.  In this case, approach the more well known international housing solutions like Rent A Room, where various student accommodation in Observatory are posted and are essentially rented out to international students.
  3. Here’s the best suggestion to all your housing concerns we can offer. Chose a website that solely works with student accommodations. They are anyday much more reliable. The most convenient, easy and foolproof way of going about your search for Student Accommodation in Observatory is by simply browsing through our website, Student Rooms Abroad (INSERT LINK).  We understand the anxiety that you as an international student looking out for short term and long term accommodation in a completely new city is facing and therefore, we guarantee you a 100% safe and secure method of house hunting. You can choose from a wide variety of student accommodations ranging from flats, private owned houses, shared villas and student complexes located on and off campus areas for the best possible rates. Once you choose the accommodation that suits your needs, you could directly get in touch with the landlords, who are all screened and checked for genuinity and make your booking on our website.
  4. If you want to escape all this hassle of finding accommodation yourself, agents are always available. A few agents also specialize in finding short term accommodation for International Exchange students as well as students opting for internships and volunteering opportunities in Observatory. As much as this takes away the burden of house hunting for you. You may want to account for the agent’s fee.
  5. If you are coming to Observatory for an Internship opportunity, you may want to clarify with your agency if they do offer accommodation service as well as an invitation to their exchange students’ community. That’s a great deal as you can find people of your wavelength and explore the beautiful neighbourhood of Obs together. Here’s our recommendation for an internship agency: IO Cape Town. Based out of Europe, they work to provide you with the most challenging yet fun internships and volunteering opportunities there is in Cape Town. They can also assist you in finding accommodation in Cape Town and the neighbourhood of Observatory.
  6. If none of this works out and you resort to Facebook, please be aware of scammers. It’s understood that we can not take all the ads on Facebook for granted. Therefore we advise you to only reply on posts that can be checked by other international students who are currently living there and can help you verify the landlord’s offline identity.   

We hope we’ve made your house hunting in Observatory not only easier but also more affordable. You can check the listings on our website to find your dream student accommodation in Observatory.