Virgin Active - Roodepoort
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Updated April 14, 2020.
Adult Admission Price & Policy
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The Virgin Active clubs are my preferred training facility whenever I visit South Africa.
The clubs maintain an excellent standard: modern, bright, spacious, spotlessly clean, well maintained and well equipped. Entry to a club provides access to all its facilities, not just the swimming pool: gym, exercise classes, sauna and steam room (where available). At the time of writing, one-off entry costs R150 but better value is a one month membership: R850 (restricted to the club you sign up at) or R950 (access to almost any of Virgin's extensive network of clubs across South Africa). The latter membership is great if you are planning to tour the country or visit more than one conurbation.
The pools are 25 metres and are laned at all times using proper wave-suppression barriers (not the simple lane markers that are so common in the UK) so the water is very smooth.
In summer the pool temperatures are excellent for serious swimming, around 27º or 28ºC. In winter the temperatures seem to be higher and are just bearable, around 29º or 30ºC. The water is almost always clean and clear.
During weekday afternoons some of the pools have lanes reserved for school training, though several lanes will remain available for general use. Weekend evenings seem to be very quiet.
There is usually a good supply of bath toys, floats, kickboards and the like to borrow. Unless you are one of those gifted people with randomly sized left and right feet, I recommend that you bring your own fins/flippers! And of course your own rubber ducks to play with ;)
It is worth taking note of swimming etiquette is South Africa (where the concept does not exist of fast, medium and slow lanes with multiple swimmers circulating in each lane in a specified direction). In South Africa , a maximum of two swimmers will normally share a lane, each taking one half. If all the lanes are full you are expected to wait your turn until one becomes free, though in my experience availability is such that this hardly ever happens. If only one swimmer is in a lane the expected courtesy is to first ask before getting in; again in my experience a refusal is rare.
I strongly advise anyone taking out a one month membership to retain their credit card payment receipt and membership form, as administration is err, um, well…. you're in Africa, not Germany, right? When you first sign up and the chap at membership says "please make use of the facilities, the paperwork will be ready when you're finished training"; don't be surprised if it takes another 20 minutes for the paperwork to be completed before you can leave. And if as you leave the chap at membership says "your card will activated on the computer system overnight"; don't be surprised if for the rest of the month you are refused entry because your membership profile on the computer is incomplete or non-existent. Don't get upset, just keep that receipt handy!
Finally it is worth noting that, unlike Europe and the UK where lifeguards are a legal requirement, there are none present and you are reliant on casual observation for your safety: other swimmers, poolside mums, fitness bike users on the balcony above, possibly a CCTV camera that may or may not be monitored at reception. Quite surprising actually as the VA gyms are heavily staffed compared to the UK.