A group of ‘iron’ women meets three times a week to exercise together – bootcamp style.

Tea is served at times too… But with a healthy twist.

Kamp Staalwol

Michelle Staal (her surname if translated into English, means “Steel”), is the co-founder of Kamp Staalwol, which translates in “camp steel wool” in English. And indeed one needs to be an irone maiden to keep up with Michelle. As a medical doctor and extreme sport enthusiast, she encourages women of all ages to join in and exercise in her terraced garden with ready available props: milk bottles filled with cement or water; used car tyres; boxing gloves; medicine balls; yoga mats and one’s own body weight.

Kamp Staalwol  Kamp Staalwol

And on a regular occasion, the adjoining gate to Melville Hills is opened and the iron maidens are set free to traverse the heights of Melville – running trail runs with a view over Johannesburg. Every semester, following a rigorous exercise session, life and birthdays are celebrated with tea and cake and a good chat.

But there is much more to camp steel wool, than what meets the eye.

This sisterhood forms a tight network of support amidst the fast paced city life.

They share failures and disappointments, love and celebrations. On a practical note they show their support like families used to do: If a member is ill – cooked dinners are organised to be dropped off; if cancer is diagnosed – the trees lining her street are wrapped in pink; if someone needs a lift/ entry to an event/ like on a social media page, it happens.

Michelle Staal’s sisterhood has developed into an exercise regime with a resourceful soul. These iron maidens are all women with real hearts.

Kamp Staalwol  Kamp Staalwol