Do chickens roam your campus?

I have been living on the Tygerberg campus of Stellenbosch University since December 7th.  Today, I’d like to give you an in-person tour of our campus!  To start things off, here’s a partial map of the campus to help with orientation.


For a few more days, I am living in the “Mankadan Lodge” on an upper floor of the Student Center (building 10 above).  During the school year, which will start in a couple of weeks, this building stays quite busy, since it houses a bookstore, a gymnasium, a couple of restaurants, and a cafeteria.  At present, just a few of the rooms at the Lodge are occupied.


The Student Center on the Tygerberg campus

A swimming pool is just to the South of the Center.  To its north, students take advantage of four tennis courts.


See the roots hanging down from the branches?

As is true with many places in South Africa, access to the campus is controlled.  The only way to drive onto campus is by a gate at the west side.  The road splits to two lanes heading out and three lanes heading in.  If you don’t have card access to come in, the guards will write down a wide variety of data about your car and your license before you enter.


This is the inner security gate; the outer security hut is used for napping.

When you arrive at the main entrance to the medical school, you are at the North end of the Clinical Building (#3 on the map).  During business hours you can pop through the revolving door and then use your key card to go through the turnstiles.  Things get a bit more complex after business hours.  At that time, the revolving door becomes an airlock.  You use the card to open the lock, step inside (staying back from the other door), and when the exit light goes green, you step out on the other side.


The main entrance at the Clinical Building

As should be apparent from the map, the Tygerberg campus bridges several different facilities.  Behind the Clinical Building, the massive Education Building (#2 on the map), and its attached auditorium, becomes a busy beehive during the school year.


The wording on the new Education Building auditorium reflects Stellenbosch University’s effort to be accessible in many languages.

If you pass through another security gate to the south, you reach the Faculty of Dentistry for the University of the Western Cape (UWC).  This faculty was transferred to UWC because the campus was not allowed to have a professional school in Apartheid times.


UWC Dental Hospital sits between Stellenbosch Faculty of Medicine and the Tygerberg Hospital.

If we return to the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine, though, we can move to the FISAN Building at the Eastern edge (#1 on the map).  FISAN is a contraction for Physiology and Anatomy, the original purpose of the building.  It also houses most of the Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, where I work.20160102-FISAN-Entry-with-Bantams

The FISAN building is home to much of the biomedical research on the campus.

You have probably noticed something unusual about the photo.  We have chickens living on our campus!  These free-range chickens make their presence felt throughout the day, as the roosters crow the hours (here’s a video).  They’re a distinctive breed, with feathers running down their legs.  My friend Gerard reports that they’re probably “bantams.”


This courtyard is nestled between the FISAN and Clinical Buildings.

Happily, the campus offers a variety of places for wildlife to call home.  A few cats certainly take advantage of them, and water bowls appear near the parking areas.  We also see some of the characteristic birds of the Western Cape.  Each morning I am awoken by laughing doves, and the campus is also home to hadidas, which earned their names from their distinctive calls.


Hadidas are a type of ibis.

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to the grounds of the Tygerberg campus for Stellenbosch University!


5 thoughts on “Do chickens roam your campus?

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