As one of the major cities in South Africa, Gqeberha, previously known as Port Elizabeth, is home to a host of tertiary institutions, including one of South Africa’s main universities. This makes PE a lively hotspot for students who come from across the country to begin their academic journey.
But moving out of home and trying to find affordable student accommodation can be tricky, especially if you don’t know the area. That’s why we’re here to give you the inside scoop.
Here’s everything you need to know about student accommodation in Port Elizabeth — from the different types of student accommodation and the best areas to the cost and the best places to look.
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Port Elizabeth’s student accommodation houses students from a range of institutions. Here are the top tertiary institutions you’ll find in PE:
Whether you’re looking for a tight-knit community and dorm life or some independence and privacy in your own bachelor flat, Port Elizabeth’s student accommodation has something for every new student. Understanding the different options will help you find the best one that suits you, your lifestyle and your priorities.
Let’s take a look at the different types of student accommodation in Port Elizabeth.
Residence halls are hosted by the university or tertiary institution and offer a ‘boarding-school-like’ lifestyle. Each institution has a bunch of residences right on campus with single-gendered and co-ed options. Here, you’ll live in a dorm where you’ll likely have a roommate, depending on whether it’s a triple, double or single if you’re lucky. Each floor will have a shared bathroom (so don’t forget your shower shoes). Each residence will also typically have a dining hall where you can get your daily meals with a meal plan.
Residence Halls are perfect for those socialites who are looking for an immediate community in their new home. They’ll often host events throughout the year to bring everyone together, but they do also come with a bit more responsibilities and restrictions.
As the main university in PE, let’s take a look at Nelson Mandela University’s Residence Halls, split into South, North and 2nd Avenue Campus.
Sarah Baartman Junior Female Residence
Claude Qavane Junior Male Residence
Lillian Ngoyi Senior Female Residence
Soloman Mahlangu Senior Male Residence
Post Graduate Student Village
Charlotte Maxeke Junior Female Residence
Hector Pieterson Junior Male Residence
Indwe Senior Female Residence
Ikamvu Senior Male Residence
Sol Plaatje Senio Mixed Residence
2nd Avenue Campus:
Yolanda Guma Junior Female Residence
Yolanda Guma Junior Male Residence
Here's the spread of pros and cons of living in a residence hall:
|Pros of Residence Halls
|Cons of Residence Halls
|Immediate community and social groups
|Shared rooms and bathrooms
|Tends to be cheaper
|Extra commitments and responsibilities
|Often right on campus
|A lot of extra support
|Can be quite loud and distracting
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Private residences are very similar to residence halls, except they are privately owned and offer a bit more freedom, privacy and great facilities. They present students with the best of both worlds — you get a bit of dorm life while getting a taste of living on your own and taking care of yourself.
Usually with private residences, you get your own bedroom while sharing a bathroom and small kitchen, depending on whether you’re in a triple, double or single.
While the rooms can get a bit tight, they mostly come fully-furnished with a bed, mattress, desk and cupboards. The kitchen will also often come with a fridge, microwave, stove and sometimes even an oven if you’re lucky.
This means you don’t have to worry about buying all new furniture when you get there. Additionally, private residences also come with some pretty cool facilities, including a common room lounge, game room, study room, laundry services, weekly cleaning and 24/7 security and surveillance.
Some of the top private residences in Port Elizabeth include:
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of private residences:
|Pros of Private Residences
|Cons of Private Residences
|A small community
|Tends to be a bit more expensive
|Great facilities and perks
|Can sometimes be quite small
|Still lacking some privacy
|Usually quite close to campus
|Can get quite noisy
If you’re ready to go take care of yourself with complete independence, then off-campus accommodation like apartments and houses might be the best option for you.
Apartments and houses come in all shapes and sizes, offering you a lot more variation of living situations to choose from – whether you want a bachelor flat with complete privacy, a 2-3 bedroom flat with your closest friends, a small townhouse, or even a massive house with 10-20 other students (usually called a digs).
While apartments and houses usually come with a lot more space to relax in and host friends, they also often come entirely unfurnished, meaning you have to provide most of the furniture yourself — but it also means you can decorate it however you like!
This is often a popular choice for older students and postgrad students who want more of their own space and want to be a bit out of town where it’s a bit quieter. Typically, you rent out a room and costs tend to have a wider range — you’ll find some of the cheapest accommodation but also some of the most expensive.
Here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of apartments and houses:
|Pros of Apartments and Houses
|Cons of Apartments and Houses
|Complete privacy and independence
|A lot less support
|Can live with your friends
|Have to furnish it yourself
|Bigger and more comfortable space
|May have extra costs like water and WIFI
|Have a lot more variety to choose from
|Usually a bit further from campus
|Can be the cheapest
|Sometimes less security and surveillance
With tertiary institutions and campuses spread across Port Elizabeth, there are quite a few neighbourhoods that are in the centre of student living.
When choosing the area you want to live in, you should consider things like:
Proximity to campus
Nearby restaurants, activities and entertainment
Access to transportation
Keeping those key factors in mind, here’s a list of the top 6 areas for student accommodation in Port Elizabeth:
Home to Nelson Mandela University, Summerstrand has become the epicentre of student life in Port Elizabeth, where you’ll find most of the residence halls and many private residences. It’s also a hotspot for some of PE’s biggest entertainment and activities, including
The Boardwalk with restaurants, shops, an arcade, a casino, a bowling alley and much more
Restaurants, cafés, bars and live music
Port Elizabeth Central is where you’ll find many of the smaller colleges in Port Elizabeth, such as Rosebank College and AFDA. It’s also where you’ll find the buzzing city life of Port Elizabeth, with loads of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Plus, it’s one of the areas in Port Elizabeth with the most student accommodation, particularly private residences and apartments.
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Located just north of Summerstrand, Humewood houses the overspill of students who attend Nelson Mandela University.
You’ll find all kinds of student accommodation in Humewood, including private residences, apartments and houses. And being practically on one of South Africa’s best beachy shores — Humewood Beach — you might even find yourself student accommodation with a stunning ocean view.
Found between Summerstrand and Central, South End hugs the edge of city life, giving you access to the city centre and its colleges but also sitting only a 15-minute drive away from Nelson Mandela University.
It’s often described as the “District 6” of PE with a rich history and diverse community of people from all walks of life — including students, young professionals and families. In South End, you’ll find many apartments, townhouses and private residences.
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North-west of PE central and a bit further inland, you have Newton Park — another hub of Port Elizabeth’s tertiary institutions, including Boston City College, Varsity College and Eduvos Nelson Mandela Bay. Because of this, it’s an area with some small residence halls, private residences and apartments.
Newton Park is just around the corner from Baakens Valley — a stunning park for walks, hikes and mountain biking. It’s also a pretty commercial area with lots of shops and restaurants. Plus, it’s home to St George’s Cricket Stadium and the Mannville Open Air Theatre if you’re interested in some sports or cultural after-class activities.
Greenacres is an area that sits just next to Newton Park, making it another popular spot for student living for those attending college close by. Being a bit quieter though, you’re able to be out of the hustle and bustle.
Greenacres has quite a few private residences, some apartments, and townhouses for students to live in. It’s also super conveniently located next to the massive Greenacres Shopping Centre, so you don’t have to go far to do your weekly groceries.
The cost of your student accommodation will greatly depend on the area you’re staying in, the type of student accommodation, whether or not you’re sharing or on your own, etc.
To give you a general idea of the cost of student accommodation in Port Elizabeth, here’s a look at the annual rental price ranges you can expect:
|Type of student accommodation
|Expected price range
|R24 000 - R57 000
|R45 000 - R108 000
|Apartments and Houses
|R21 000 - R84 000
Now that you have a better idea about what type of student accommodation is going to be best for you and your studies, the question is — how do you find student accommodation in PE?
Well, it depends on what you’re looking for:
University websites: This is where you’ll find university residences.
Private residence websites: Just searching ‘student accommodation Port Elizabeth’ will bring up a whole bunch of private residences to choose from.
Property websites: Find apartments and houses to share with your friends.
Facebook: There are quite a few Facebook groups where people share available student accommodation, including rooms for people to rent out.
DigsConnect: This is a website specifically for finding rooms in houses and apartments as well as new roommates if you have some extra rooms to fill.
Gumtree: People also sometimes advertise student accommodation on Gumtree, both apartments and houses.
There you have it! You’re all set to find the perfect student accommodation in Port Elizabeth to ensure a wonderful experience at your tertiary institution. And once you’ve secured your spot, you’re going to need a trusted, top-quality moving service that doesn’t break your student budget. That’s where Wise Move comes in!
Wise Move is a quick and easy-to-use moving company platform that connects you with the best, affordable local moving companies — whether you’re moving out of home from just down the road or across the country. You’re able to review and compare the quality and price of each moving service so that you can choose the one that best suits your student budget.
Get your quote from Wise Move today and start your exciting new academic journey in Port Elizabeth!
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