Staying Fit in Nairobi

Keeping fit and health in Nairobi is easy.

Across the city, in every neighbourhood there’s countless clubs and studios for all your favourite sports and hobbies: yoga, rugby, football, running, ultimate frisbee, and more.

To help you save time, I’ve put together this list of the best sports in in the city.

Whether you’re trying to stay fit or looking for a way to make friends, I’ve got you covered.

Also this is a work in progress, I’ve lived in Nairobi for many years, but am always coming across new things. Therefore, if you know of another swimming/tennis/pilates establishment and you think it’s great and should be listed below, then drop a comment and I’ll gladly add it.

Gyms in Nairobi

Gyms in Nairobi

Gyms in Nairobi used to be incredibly overpriced, the only decent ones usually found in upmarket hotels charging $100+ a month.

Now, though, affordable gyms are popping up all over the city. Even better, many new apartment complexes have fitness centres for their tenants. If you like to work out a little every day, it might be worth paying more for a complex with a gym.

Otherwise, check out our full guide to the best gyms in Nairobi.

CrossFit Gyms in Nairobi

Yoga in Nairobi

Yoga is becoming incredibly popular in Nariobi, providing a relaxing way to stay fit and escape from the city’s traffic and noise. You can find yoga classes in most areas of the city.

Here are some of the most popular:

Africa Yoga Project (AYP), Parklands – An amazing yoga studio and charity that offers ‘pay as you feel’ power yoga classes every Saturday at 10am.

Acacia Yoga Studio, Westlands – The most varied styles and yoga classes in Nairobi, in a dedicated studio, with a great location if you live or work in Westlands.

Bikram Hot Yoga, Lavington – Try out a completely different take on yoga, and get ready to sweat out all that tension, stress, and bad energy.

Check out our guide to the best yoga classes in Nairobi to find a studio or teacher near you!

Extra tip: Join the Kenya Yoga Community Facebook group to ask about classes and teachers in your area, as well as retreats and yoga centres all over Kenya.

Tennis Courts and Clubs

There are plenty of tennis courts in Nairobi but sadly they often come at the price of joining a terribly expensive Country Club. Although I’ll list a couple of clubs below, I’m going to focus more on ones that the public can access because every expat has a different budget. Also has anyone found flood lit tennis courts in Nairobi? Please let me know where and I’ll add it to the list! If you have thought about getting into tennis I’d highly recommend doing it in Nairobi. I’d never really played before and it was great starting here as the price of 1:1 classes here compared to the UK are amazingly affordable, the coaches are excellent and friendly and its a fun social activity.

Vanga Court – Lavington

Tucked down Vanga Road on your right (if Valley Arcade is on your right) are two well kept tennis courts that are open to the public but need to be booked in advance. To book call Peter the Tennis Coach on 0733 915 314. 1500kes for a lesson and 500kes to book the court.

Impala Club – Ngong Road

Hard clay courts at Impala Court on Ngong Road. Not excellent condition as they are mud courts but easily accessible and a steal at only 200kes. Not flood lit. Book at the reception or call ahead on 0796 088 498.

Nairobi Club – Ngong Road

Hard concrete courts with training walls and 4 large courts. Good solid surface but holes in the wiring, and a lovely large veranda at the front club house. Members can rent the courts at discount but I used to take lessons here at 700 – 1000kes a time without needing a membership. Prices available on website link here. Call Masch on 0728 287 047 to book 1:1 lessons.

Karura Forest Tennis Court – UN/Gigiri

Well kept tennis court by the KFEET Centre as your entire Karura Forest. The court charges are 200kes for adults and 100kes for children under 14 years. You’ll also need to pay to enter the forest in addition to the charge above which I feel is totally worth it to keep this beautiful area preserved and maintained.

Karen Country Club – Karen

If you are lucky enough to be able to afford to join or your company offers membership then jump at the chance. 7 tennis courts, excellently maintained, access with membership only.

Wadi Degla Club – Runda (and soon to open Karen/Migaa Club)

Brand new beautiful club with Tennis Academy for adults and children. Lovely site right on the lake with a spa and gym facility. Again very expensive but sites all over the world including Egypt, Dubai and Belgium so maybe worth joining if any of those destinations could be a future expat posting or you originate from there. Access with membership only.

Running Clubs

Running is big in Kenya and the country produces some of the top runners in the world. I’d highly recommend during your time in Kenya to get up to the Eldoret area known as the ‘Home of Champions’ and book a running session with Running Iten. These training sessions are incredible and really help if you want to improve the way your body runs and competes during events and for day to day exercise.

In Nairobi, you’ll find a few running clubs but not as many as I would have thought, so I’ve dropped down a few decent areas to run as well.

House Harries ONH3 – various but starting points mainly apartments or restaurants around Westlands/Kilimani

Described by a friend as a raucous, sociable and fun way to run and meet new people in Nairobi, this group meet on Mondays at 17:35 for a sharp start time of 17:45 (remember it gets dark here just before 19:00 all year round). Distances are 4 – 7km. Dinner and socializing afterwards. Registration is 600kes. Beers are 200 – 250kes depending on the venue. Sodas are 100kes. Bring water! All fitness levels welcome. Location starts vary, check their Facebook to see the new location each week.

Tipwa Tipwa Running Club – Kilimani

This running club is FREE! My friend Leah loves this club and is dedicated to getting up to meet them every Tuesday and Thursday at 05:30am (yes…in the morning!!) to meet this group of friendly runners at the Methodist Centre on Oloitoktok Road. They also meet at the fractionally earlier time of 06:30am on Sunday’s (routes posted on their Facebook so you can check distance beforehand and decide the length you feel comfortable with).

Running Tracks

Jaffreys running track in Nairobi
Jaffreys running track in Nairobi

Jaffrey’s Sports Club – Lavington

This running track is FREE to the public! It’s a sponge running track and allows both walkers and runners to enjoy the circular 440m track. If you are a member or very nice to reception they’ll let you use the lockers, otherwise best to leave valuables in your car as leaving them out on the benches may cause them to wander. Recent parking charges introduced of 50kes. Open 7 days a week and appears to be open from 7am – 7pm. Walking distance to Lavington Mall so good location if you want to get shopping or dinner afterwards.

Nairobi Arboretum – State House Road/Kileleshwa

Located in between Kileleshewa Ring Road and State House Road lies the well kept Kenya Forestry Service’s Arboretum which is popular with runners (although the bottom route by the river can get a bit stinky due to the trash) so try to stick on the main paths and upper dirt tracks through the trees. Running is free but the gates charge 50kes to enter. Since they brought in the charge, the park has got slightly cleaner.  Very safe and security/park rangers walk around – just careful of the monkeys that congregate near the bins. If you are lucky you’ll spot Colobus monkeys up in the trees!

Check out our complete guide to Nairobi Arboretum to learn more about exercising here, the opening hours, and much more.

Karura Forest – Gigiri

This over the years has become a haven for me and is absolutely massive with lots of mixed trails for running, both flat and hilly, dirt paths and grass. You can often go running on the weekends and not see a sole apart from the odd cycling group or park ranger if you go deep enough. Running is free but the gates charge 200kes for residents and 100kes for Kenyan nationals. Consider becoming a Friend of Karura to get yearly membership and access included. Do not enter with plastic water bottles or bags (bring reusable) as these will be confiscated. Open 6am – 6pm so best to get your long runs in on the weekend as they’ll lock the gates and you’ll get told off if they find out outside of opening hours (a friend told me that…).

Rock Climbing

Blue Sky – Parklands

Indoor rock climbing is hugely popular in Nairobi and the climbing gym at Diamond Plaza – Blue Sky does not disappoint. The strong fanbase has introduced a social element with plenty of organised evening events including movie screenings and weekend trips outside of Nairobi in the great outdoors. Tuesday is ladies night for 500kes only for a climb, and regular entry is 1000kes or membership rates available. Rental of climbing shoes also available.
In addition, there is a outdoor climbing wall located at Purdy Arm’s in Karen open on the weekends which is very popular with children practising their technique in the expansive pub’s garden for only 500kes.

Swimming Pools in Nairobi

When I moved to Nairobi I thought every apartment block would have big pools that you could laze by on the weekend and swim, read books and grill like I’d experienced in South Africa. So I was surprised to find it’s actually quite hard to find places to swim in compounds, at least in the ones myself and my friends live in. I’ve also found it tricky to find good public sized pools, so again if you know of any please do let me know and I’ll add to the list below. As standard, most country clubs and up market hotels have large heated swimming pools but I’m focusing on public ones only.

Swimming Pool at Diamond Plaza – Parklands

Top choice by a fellow expat friend, this pool on the top floor of Diamond Plaza Mall is heated and is open to non-members for 700kes.

YMCA Pool – State House Road/CBD

Inside the YMCA Youth Hostel, very close to University of Nairobi Campus, this 33metre length pool is great and relatively quiet at weekends with long swimming lanes and a baby/toddler paddling pool. 100kes for non members though the reception were a bit sketchy with the details…bring more cash to avoid disappointment.

Methodist Guest House Pool – Kilimani/Lavington Green

This unassuming concrete building is a home to a massive 25m swimming pool that is open to the public! I personally have not been but neighbours say it is great, although unheated, and a welcome treat in the summer months of January and February. No prices on website, so I’d recommend going with 500kes and seeing what change you get.

Impala Club – Ngong Road

Not top choice as non-members can’t swim on weekends or evenings but it’s relatively cheap and in a good location in case you are there to play squash or tennis beforehand. 300kes for non-member

As mentioned, this list is a work in progress. I’m always coming across new things. So, if you know of another swimming/tennis/pilates establishment and you think it’s great and should be listed above, then drop a comment and I’ll gladly add it.
If your hobby isn’t on this list, then please comment below and I’ll do my research add it to the above.

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26 thoughts on “Staying Fit in Nairobi”

    1. Hi Amy
      I have a job offer in Nairobi. Would love to have a quick chat if possible. Have lived all over Africa.
      Mobile : +27 793970704
      Regards
      Paul

  1. Godia’s Fitness Personal Training Centre for the best Pilates and PIYO. Location: Mahiga Mahiru Avenue, next to Westcom point, black gate number 10, Westlands

  2. Jaffreys is 660m and not 2km

    Heated swimming pools; Serena, Laico, Windsor, Karen Country Club

    Zumba and Rhumba dance classes; Serena Hotel , Silver Springs Hotel, Impala Club, Parklnds Sports Club, Prestige Plaza

    Running Club: Urban swaras

  3. This is great! Please feature an article on affordable clubs in Nairobi.

    Also look at Swim Africa – off Brookside Grove in Westlands. It offers membership for swimmers (adults and kids), cycling classes and summer camp for kids

  4. Smart gym located at Junction Mall 2nd floor is equally a good place. The place is clean and well equipped with personal trainers. The price is affordable. The charges are 3500sh a per month sh 9000 for 3 months and sh 15000sh for 6months.

  5. You may want to add Nairobi’s Ultimate Frisbee Details. Taken from the facebook page: We have weekly pick up games Friday and Sunday that all are welcome to!

    >> Friday games are at 5pm at Rosslyn Academy (https://goo.gl/maps/xJBwitcScq12)

    >> Sunday games are at 4pm at the U.N. Recreational Fields in Gigiri!

  6. Reform Gym in Parklands is a very modern gym with a lot of equipment for weight training. They also have spinning classes, yoga, Pilates, HIIT, Zumba etc.

  7. Pingback: Things I Wish I’d Known Before Moving to Nairobi – Living in Nairobi

  8. Amy, thank you so much for this! I’ll be spending 1 week per month in Nairobi and was looking for this exactly! (Specifically a lap pool to swim in and a gym to run in).

    Scott

  9. I’ve enjoyed this list as a frequent visitor to Nairobi there are still things I don’t know so excited to brave the running club!

  10. Thank you so much for this amazing guide, I’ve been in NBO for a couple months and I have yet to find a proper and even levelled basketball court, do you have any in mind?

  11. Reform Cycling and Strength Studio in Westlands (Level 5 of Western Heights) is a boutique fitness studio offering high quality spinning / indoor cycling classes, barre, and various other strength and cardio focused classes.

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