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About Observatory

The student hub of Cape Town

Green Elephant Backpackers is in the lively suburb of Observatory. It is the hostel closest to Groote Schuur Hospital which, at 500m, is within walking distance.

Because Observatory is only a 5-minute bus ride from the University of Cape Town (UCT), this is where students, interns and volunteers from all around the world live. With a selection of bars, live music venues, coffee shops and restaurants on Lower Main Road, this is also a happening nightspot where students hang out and have fun.

Trendy, young and artistic

Observatory, or Obs for short, has always been a free-spirited place. Capetonians consider it to be bohemian and alternative, where the people are unconventional and free-and-easy. Back in the bad-old apartheid days, Observatory was one of the few suburbs where people of all races could live together. Obs continues to be accepting of people of all colours and persuasions, making it a comfortable place to be for local and international visitors.

Attractions in Observatory

Groote Schuur Hospital

Observatory - Cape Town

Groote Schuur Hospital is a world famous hospital a short walk from Green Elephant. It is the site of the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant, done by Dr. Chris Barnard in 1967. The Heart of Cape Town Museum is set in the original theatre and has an excellent tour.

South African Astronomical Observatory


Observatory gets its name from the South African Astronomical Observatory. The Observatory has open nights on the second and fourth Saturday each month. In addition to attending a talk about astronomy, you can view the night sky through the original telescopes. The observatory is a ten-minute walk from Green Elephant.

Cape Town Science Centre

Observatory - Cape Town

The Cape Town Science Centre moved to Observatory in 2011. With over 300 permanent interactive exhibits, the centre aims to educate and entertain kids. Kids can learn from science shows, workshops, holiday programmes, science camps, science theatre, travelling exhibitions, hands-on experiments, excursions and many other experiences designed to expand their horizons. The Cape Town Sciene Centre is 500m from Green Elephant.

Public transport from Observatory

Observatory is 5km from the Cape Town city centre. Local mini bus taxis run from Main Road to the taxi rank at Cape Town station. Observatory Station is a stop on the Cape Town to Simon’s Town train route. The University of Cape Town run a shuttle service from the medical school facilities in Observatory to the main campus called Upper Campus.

Obs directory

Restaurants in Observatory

  • Mimi’s Cafe – awesome all day breakfast
  • Mango Ginger – soul food

Bars & live music in Observatory

  • Obs Café
  • The River Club
  • Stones Pool Bar
  • Trench Town
  • Yellow Rose Bar

Language schools in Observatory

  • Let’s Learn English – CEFR certified
  • The Knowledge Workshop – a few minutes away by public transport

Take-aways in Observatory

  • Chippies
  • Texies
  • Farbers Pavement Grill
  • Pie Shop

Supermarkets in Observatory

  • Pick ‘n Pay Shopping Centre
  • Spar – Station Road 07:00 – 20:00

Other amenities in Observatory

  • Shell 24 Hour Service Station – Main Road
  • Total 24 hour Service Station – Main Road
  • ATM – Standard Bank on Station Road
  • Post Office – in Mowbray 600m from Green Elephant
  • Pharmacy – on Station Road
  • Dentist – on Station Road
  • Health shop – on Lower Main Road