Hi, my name is Marthe. I was in Namibia for 3 months in the very start of 2020, as an intern through my studies in Norway. When I'm in Norway I like to stay active, and maybe what you would call fit - in my words: I like to take care of my body and be healthy. So going to Namibia I knew I wanted to work out in some kind of way, since I knew I wasn't going for a vacation, but for work and for (temporary) living. And that is what this blog post will be about - I want to give you, as an upcoming traveler to Namibia, the information I would think could come in handy before going. Even if you don't work out regularly at home, I think it is a nice thing to do to fill up your day to day life in Windhoek - it can bring so much energy and joy. It should be added that: I'm no fitness guru, nor am I working out 360 days a year - as I said, I like to take care of myself, but at the same time I like to enjoy myself. So just keep in mind that I'm just a completely regular person that works out on a completely regular stage.
In advance of our travel to Namibia we got recommended three different gyms. I'm going to give you some basic information on each of them, so that it will be easier to decide witch one you would like to look further into.
Virgin Active: is a typical gym where you have everything you need, for everything - even an Olympic sized swimming pool. You can also get classes throughout the day at this gym, and a lot of help from the staff. (www.virginactive.co.za/clubs/maerua-mall)
- The nearest one is located at Maerua mall witch is 5 km from Kamatjona Guesthouse, and is a 8 minutes car ride. There is also one virgin active gym at the Grove mall, but this is further away and it requires a more expensive membership to use them both.
©Virgin Active // ©Kauai // ©Virgin Active
Pulse Fitness Studio: are focused on the equality between mind and body in the matter of fitness. They aim to create a motivating environment and a positive supportive community as well as the high quality instructions and programming. This gym also provide classes for their members. (www.pulse.com.na/home)
- Located 4 km from Kamatjona Guesthouse, and is a 8 minutes car ride.
©Pulse PerfectFit Studio
Cross Fit Sold Out: is a CrossFit box with a variety of classes outside of traditional CrossFit. They also aim to have a motivating and energetic vibe, as well as coaches that look out for you. (www.crossfitwhk.com/)
- Located about 7 km from Kamatjona Guesthouse, and is a 10 minutes car ride.
©Cross Fit Sold Out
I chose to sign up for a membership at Virgin Active at Maerua mall, and was very happy with my decision. I had everything I needed, and the opening hours were okay - in addition, they also had Kauai Cafe in the gym. Kauai sells smoothies, wraps, bowls, and dinner - all in healthy styles, packed with protein. I needed something to motivate me to get to the gym, instead of spending all my time by the pool (witch were preferred), and Kauai, amongst the staff and good vibe, was a part of that motivation for me.
The gyms are very different, and therefor it is a great chance of you finding something that fits you perfectly and that will fulfill your needs.
How to get to the gym
There is a few kilometers to each gym, so unless you like to jog 5 km as a warm up before ever session, you'd have to have a car disposable in some way.
- LEFA: In Namibia they have this great app called LEFA, and it is basically the same thing as Uber. When you open the app you can just type in your exact position and where you would like to go, and the app will search for a driver for you - when a driver has accepted the mission, he will be marked in your map and you'll get an estimated time for when he will arrive. The app will decide the price, so the prices is already decided and depends on how far you want to go and if it is daytime or nighttime.
- Streetcab: You can also just take one of the cabs that is constantly driving around almost every road i Windhoek, they will charge you N$12 for a drive to one of these gyms, but N$24 to get back to Kamatjona since it is on the other side of town (don't ask me who's logic this is, 'cause I don't get it either). I would not recommend to take these in the evening or nighttime though, that's what I've been recommended by the locals, just to be safe I would take a Lefa or a driver I know at that time of day - just because you can never know with the streetcabs. And just a heads up, these cars will add more passengers as he is on the road with you, so it also might take a bit more time sometimes - the positive part is that it is way cheaper than Lefa (but safety first).
I mostly used LEFAs, but as I got more comfortable in Windhoek I started using more streetcabs since it was cheaper.
Other ways to stay active in Windhoek
As in every other place in the world, you can of course jog in Windhoek. And I know a lot of people love it for multiple reasons, but I hate it so I don't have any specific routes to recommend - all I will say though, is that it would be wise to jog either early in the morning or late in the evening because of the hot temperature. The same goes for work outs outside in general - you'll be doing yourself (and your sweat) a favor by not doing the work out in the middle of the day.
Hikes is also a good option in Windhoek - sadly I didn't get the chance to try them myself. I know they're there, and I know the crew at Kamatjona has reliable information and knowledge about these - it's good to know that it is an option!
Why work out while in Windhoek
For some of you this may be a stupid question, but for others: this may be totally relevant. Before going, I was told from former interns that they intended to keep working out while in Namibia but they couldn't do it because so much were happening all the time, they were too tired after work or they spent most of their time by the pool. So based on their experiences, I wasn't really too confident I would be going to work out quite as much as I do at home (even though I wanted to) - I really expected to just stay by the pool every afternoon.
As life in Windhoek started to become kind of a habit for me, I started to feel the urge to work out - and I was looking into options and found Virgin Active. Not only did this give me more energy throughout the day than laying by the pool the whole day after work, but it also gave me the me-time I needed. I traveled with a big group, and even though I love being social, I also desperately need my me-time. And the gym was perfect for that: I had all the time in the world, in my own little bubble of music. And don't get me wrong, I spent as much time by the pool as i needed - usually I would get home from work at 1pm, eat lunch and lay by the pool until 5pm before I went to the gym. Virgin active doesn't close until 9pm, so I still had a lot of time at the gym - and it helped me fill out my days with things that had meaning to me.
So even if working out regularly would only become a habit in Windhoek, and then be gone when you get home, consider it! It has a lot of pros for both your body and mind, and I can't even think of another con then missing the sun - and if you work out outside instead of in the gym, that's not a problem either!