“I’m not going to lie was a little nervous. I was travelling thousands of miles away from home, leaving my comforts behind and all to spend a total of 10 days with people I knew very little about.
I made the decision to go so that I would experience the trip of a lifetime…and I was not left disappointed.
From the moment we arrived at Windhoek I was hooked. We arrived having travelled for over 24 hours and I could just not tear my eyes away from the scenery. For 3 hours I sat staring out the window. I thought it couldn’t get more beautiful…then we arrived at Okonjima.
From the moment we entered the gates we were welcomed by wildlife. Warthogs, Kudu and Oryx just to name a few. We arrived at our Villa and we were treated like Royalty by the staff who, were incredible. We were introduced to our guide for the week Pieter, who I swear could go on mastermind for his knowledge about the animals. There was not a question he could not answer.
Within 2 hours we had been welcomed by not one by six giraffe all of whom felt it prudent to come and introduce us to the magic of Okonjima.
I could go on for hours but it wouldn’t be fair without a mention to the two amazing guys that made this all possible…
Jon Le Tocq and Dan Groves.
Jon and Dan’s dedication and commitment for the trip as a whole and to our experience was faultless.
Having known Jon for a few years I knew he wouldn’t let me down….and he sure as hell didn’t.
You could literally thrive off his enthusiasm during the training sessions. Something I was very grateful for whilst getting used to the dust and high altitude.
I hadn’t met Danny before the trip, but I did what most people would do and had a good look at his facebook page to get a feel for what he was about. Again his didn’t dissapoint.
Dan’s love and passion for what he does as well as Namibia was apparent from the moment I met him (he’s also gives a pretty damn good massage)
The training sessions were a mixture of both their interests. Conditioning sessions, 5km runs, mountain biking, boxing and interval training.
The planning and preparation these boys did was honourable.
Jon took care of us all before we went, making sure we had the correct training, nutrition and Danny created the most remote and the most amazing training area that probably exists in the world. I still don’t know how he did it but…well done Dan…IT’S AWESOME!
Where else would you come across a Leopard and her two cubs eating a kill when driving back from the gym????
I rest my case.
As well as the epic training we got to soak up the culture of Africa…Leopard trails, Cheetah trails and a wild dog and hyena trail. Off-roading through a dried up river bed, visiting the Perivoli school, and eating some of the leanest and best prepared food I have probably ever eaten (thank you Chef Martin)
Afternoons were spent round the pool in the villa either soaking up the sun, getting some integrated movement therapy from Jon, a massage from Dan or getting some epic mindset coaching which will literally make you reassess your life (in a good way)
We also got to visit Africat, a charity run on Okonjima by the amazing Donna Hanssen.
The last morning on the reserve bought the Cheetah challenge. I won’t go into detail on this but all I’ll say is…it is worth it when you get to the end. Trust me!
To finish the week we left the wildlife of Africa and headed to Swakopmund on the coast…again a totally different side to Namibia with just as much sparkle.
To finish I have to go back to Jon and Dan. There are not enough words to thank these two for what they have created. They gave me the most amazing experience of my life, one that will live with me forever and one that I would never of experienced without them. Thank You.
I made amazing friends in Jon, Josie, Claire, Jon G and Danny. Friends I would never had made had I not chosen to go on this trip. Friends for life.
Namibia stole a piece of my heart, a piece I do not want to take back. I’m already planning my next trip (get on it Groves) and believe me when I say…
“You can never shake the ancient dust of Africa off your boots” ”
“I have always wanted to travel and see the world but never known where or how to start, my life had turned into a dull grind with no real progression towards anything, this started to get better when I joined Storm Force bootcamps with the target of getting fitter.
I didn’t really know what to expect of Namibia, I had travelled quite a lot with my family previously but, I had never been to an African Country so didn’t have a clue what it’d be like let alone that it’d have such a big impact on me.
As far as the trip went it was all planned out to perfectly balance training and relaxation at the same time as giving you the opportunity to go out on treks and get amazingly close to the wildlife.
Our guide Pieter had a vast knowledge of all the animals and managed to show us lots of them at the same time as filling us in with amazing facts about each and every animal.
The trainers, Jon and Dan, put together the trip extremely well and complement each other’s knowledge perfectly, I learnt a lot from them about nutrition, finding your real goals, increasing quality of life and more.
The training sessions were varied and they would push you right to the limit with great encouragement and achievement.
The trip was awesome in so many ways Namibia and Okonjima specifically is somewhere where you can truly detach from the stresses of everyday life, it really allows you to relax and refocus which is exactly what I needed. The food was excellent, the environment was just amazing and the accommodation was fantastic.
I personally would recommend this trip to anyone!
It has entirely changed my view on life and focused my aspirations.
Personally the whole time I was there I saw it as a once in a life time experience, now I am back home I will be going back and hopefully taking a few more people to enjoy this amazing experience with me, if anything just to allow them to have this experience that my words cannot do justice.”
“Everybody thought I was mad, I mean, who on earth would travel all the way to Africa to meet a group of strangers only to be woken up everyday at 5.30am to exercise?
Sounds crazy but that’s exactly what I did when I signed up for a fitness safari with Namibia Fitness Holidays.
Well, I needed a break, something different, a not so typical holiday and, more than that, I needed an adventure… and that’s exactly what I got. The Okonjima reserve, nestled among the Omboroko Mountains in Namibia, is one of the most peaceful and tranquil places I have ever visited.
It’s breathtaking and I couldn’t think of a better setting for a health and fitness retreat.
The air is so clean and fresh that you start feeling revitalised the moment you arrive and the views are simply mind blowing. It’s difficult to describe how liberating being surrounded entirely by nature feels, where humans are outnumbered by beautiful roaming animals, rather than the cars, concrete and towering buildings of modern life.
I was a bit nervous at first as I’d never been on this type of holiday before but all those fears dissipated into the warm African breeze once our trainers arrived and took over the reigns.
Jon Le Tocq, owner of Storm Force Fitness, and Danny Groves, a personal trainer and massage therapist at the Okonjima Lodge, were just superb.
Their wealth of experience and passion really shines through and you can tell they love what they do. Jon and Danny were always full of guidance and encouragement and very focused on making sure we made the most of our activities every day while having a fun time in the process, which we certainly did, there wasn’t a moment that went by that I regretted packing my gym kit and trainers!
The entire training itinerary was extremely well thought out and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I got to train in a outdoor gym Dan had created and built literally in the middle of nowhere, ride mountain bikes, box and go trail running as well as spend time working on mindset and motivation training to improve inner fitness.
It was wonderful and I was always excited to see what we were going to do next. But it wasn’t all weights and stopwatches, you also get time to relax.
Whether it’s resting by the camp fire, swimming, sunbathing, watching the sun go down or getting a personal massage from Dan…the experience doesn’t stop at the finish line. The Okonjima Grand Villa boasts 5 star accommodation and it didn’t disappoint.
Wayne and Donna, the owners, and their staff were a fantastic, friendly, crew who would go out of their way to make sure your stay was perfect. It was like being part of a big happy family where nothing was too much trouble, you only had to ask and they would happily accommodate all your needs.
As for the food, the food was a delight with Chef Martin offering a full dining service that even catered for vegetarian’s like myself.
I always looked forward to meal times which were made especially interesting when unexpected guests such as giraffes and leopards arrived, luckily we were not on the menu.
It was so exciting to witness the cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs out on the trails, living and breathing in their natural habitat as our guide, Pieter, thrilled us with stories about the animals and the rich history of the land. In fact, there wasn’t anything he didn’t know about all the animals we encountered or places we traveled to.
The reserve is home to the AfriCat Foundation, dedicated to the conservation of carnivores such as cheetahs and leopards, something Donna was quite visibly passionate about.
You could feel the love for the animals oozing out of her. It was both humbling and heartwarming to hear her talk about the cause which has been part of her family’s work for generations.
As our safari experience ended we traveled away from the reserve to Swakopmund, a nearby main town, to indulge in independent activities and enjoy the beach hotels, restaurant and bars.
I don’t think any words can fully do justice to the experience I had in Namibia.
It opened my heart and changed my life forever while giving me the opportunity to meet new people who I now call friends. It was truly a privilege and I’d do it again in an instant.
You really have to see it to believe it.
Warmest wishes and thank you to everyone who contributed to making my trip to Namibia as memorable and unforgettable as it was.”