Bébé Voyage Rating of Seringa Lodge: 9.5/10
Seringa Lodge is a favorite of the Maputo expat community, especially families with young children, because of their great hospitality, great location and general family friendliness. Swedish-South African owners, Cecilia and Roger, have kids of their own, now in their teens, and are sensitive to the needs of traveling families. Before establishing their own lodge, they both worked for the luxury safari group, Wilderness Safaris. That experience shows up in all kinds of thoughtful ways during a stay at Seringa Lodge.
Everything from the family suite to the ample lawn to early dinner for the kids make Seringa Lodge particularly kid friendly. We love that the lodge isn’t very big which means that our baby monitor reaches from the dining room to any of the bedrooms. So we can always enjoy Cecilia’s delicious dinners and a drink by the fireplace after we’ve put our son down. That’s probably the biggest reason we’ve stayed there over a dozen times in the past 3 years. They provided a camp cot (with mosquito net) until Simon grew out of it and even a baby wash basin when he was really small. The Stokke high chair and willingness to make special meals for the kids (or giving you access to the kitchen to do your own prep) make meal times a breeze. Note, they have several dogs (both large and small), but they are all very child friendly.
Seringa Lodge is located off a winding road in White River, South Africa, just north of the provincial capital, Nelspruit (a.k.a. Mbombela, Mpumalanga Province) and is a great base from which to explore the Lowveld. Here are a few nearby activities:
- safaris in Kruger Park (35 minutes away),
- strip mall shopping in Nelspruit (15 minutes),
- golfing (10 minutes),
- local arts and crafts in Graskop (45 minutes),
- getting out into nature by hopping into the natural Mac-Mac Pools (20 minutes),
- hiking along the largest green canyon in Africa (perhaps even the world?) – the Blyde River Canyon (60 minutes).
White River is approximately a 4-hour drive from Johannesburg/Pretoria and 4 hours from Maputo (with border crossing), halfway between the two.
We’ve stayed in just about all of their 8 rooms, 4 in the main building and 4 in the cottages in the garden. They are all quite big, with a double bed and space for a camp cot. Some have large enough closets that you could fit the camp cot in the closet. The family suite includes a separate kids room with bunkbeds and toys. It is the only room to have a bathtub. The beds (with mosquito nets) are very comfortable and ensure a good night’s rest.
Style and character
In many ways, Seringa Lodge feels like a large country home. When you drive in, the dogs come to greet you and Davis, the caretaker, helps take your luggage to your room, all of which are tastefully decorated and feature regional artwork and crafts. (We’ve asked Roger and Cecilia about several pieces, like the striking wooden antelope heads, and gone out and gotten our own.) The common areas feature a cozy living room area with a chimney, the dining area, a TV room and the honor bar. The dining area extends out onto a large terrace which also has armchairs perfectly positioned to enjoy a sundowner.
Food and drink
Included in the price of the room is a generous breakfast which consists of a cold spread as well as eggs with bacon or sausage. Seringa Lodge also offers a delicious three course dinner every night except for Sunday which needs to be booked ahead of time. Cecilia makes the same meal for all guests (this is standard in South African lodges). If you let her know about food restrictions, she will gladly make modifications. And she’s always got something up her sleeve for little ones.
Roger has helped us discover some great South African wines from their cellar. They have an honor bar stocked with beer and liquor, perfect for preparing a post-safari cocktail or after dinner drink and enjoying it on the terrace or by the fireplace.
Service and facilities
Roger, Cecilia and their staff go to great lengths to make their guests feel at home, from lending some fridge space to store baby food to recommending their favorite local lunch spots (Zest on R37). Kids are always welcome to romp around the garden and play with the dogs.
Available services and facilities:
- Swimming pool
- Complimentary wifi in common areas
- Activity bookings
- Complimentary breakfast (to-go packs upon request)
- Dinner available if pre-booked
- Complimentary coffee and tea station in dining room
Roger is an experienced safari guide and for an additional fee will take you out for a sunrise or sunset game drive. He can also arrange an airport transfer if necessary.
Value for money
If you are coming from Europe or North America, Seringa Lodge and South Africa generally offer great value for money. The quality of the accommodations, service and food is outstanding compared to what you would get for the same price in a New England bed and breakfast or a maison d’hôte in Provence.
Cecilia and Roger Briggs
Cellular telephone: +27 83 512 0638 or +27 71 540 3715
Reservations email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Bed and Breakfast R 600 p/p sharing
Bed and Breakfast R 700 single
Children 3-16 years R 205
Children 0-2 years Free
Traveling to Southern Africa? You might also be interested in our review of Ibo Island Lodge.