We visited Jamaica Swamp Safari Village in Falmouth, Trelawny in March 2016. It was an easy 20 minute or so drive from the villa so a great way to spend a couple hours.
In case you were wondering, we did not ask for, neither did we receive, any form of compensation for writing this post. If you want the full story of our travel review, keep reading. If you just want the highlights or the key tips, please scroll to the bottom.
With such an intriguing name, Jamaica Swamp Safari Village, it is easy to be set up for disappointment if you don’t know what to expect. This is especially true if you have visited many large zoos and animal preserves or have been on a real safari. So, let’s start with a quick reality check so we get our expectations in focus.
The property does back onto a swamp with mangrove trees similar to what you would see in the Louisiana bayou. The safari portion is cool marketing and not like going on a safari in Africa. You could consider a collection of animal habitats a village, but that would be a stretch. Nevertheless, this is an under-rated gem that rounds out the list of things to do in Falmouth Jamaica, or on the northern side of Jamaica for that matter.
The property is only a few acres in size and so is more like a very small zoo or wild-life preserve. This is not the Bronx or San Diego or London Zoo. If you keep that in mind, you will be able to appreciate Jamaica Swamp Safari Village for what is it worth.
What is distinctive about this attraction is the curation of a few animals that are now rarely seen in Jamaica and the preservation of the crocodile, which is protected by Jamaican law. Swamp Safari’s claim to fame is for its role as a location in a real live box office hit movie.
There is a large walk-through aviary where you can feed the birds. Many of the birds are common to other attractions; nevertheless, people, especially kids, love that the birds will eat right out of their hands.
If you are lucky you might get to see a West Indian whistling duck, known for its unique whistling call.
Jamaica Swamp Safari Village is a common destination for Jamaican school trips. As a result, there are some animals there, such as white-tailed deer and raccoons, that would be exotic to Jamaican school children but would be commonplace to Americans.
The collection of animals reflects animals of the Americas and not necessarily animals native to Jamaica. For example, there was a collared peccary, called Javelina, which looks like a wild pig but isn’t actually a pig. Trinidad is the only Caribbean island to which it is native but there were introduced populations in Jamaica and a few other islands. I don’t recall seeing one in Jamaica outside of Swamp Safari.
We saw several animals that we had never seen or heard of before such as coatimundi and tayra. There is a Jamaican coney, once thought to be extinct. This is a real score for Jamaica Swamp Safari Village.
After much coaxing, I was able to convince Darrian to hold a huge Jamaican boa constrictor. There was a python that was even bigger.
The mongoose is commonly seen in certain parts of Jamaica, especially where there are sugar cane fields. They were brought here from South East Asia in the 1800s to try to control the rat infestation of the cane fields.
Farmers would probably applaud Swamp Safari for having a mongoose in captivity because that is one less creature to steal and eat their chickens. On a more serious note, this cunning predator is directly responsible for putting certain of our bird species at risk. The Robin Red Breast and the Jamaican Tody are two especially vulnerable birds because they build their nests on the ground, making them easy victims.
Jamaica Swamp Safari Village serves as a nature preserve for the endangered and protected American crocodile. These creatures are not native to Jamaica. They migrated here, as well as to other islands in the warm Caribbean sea, from Florida due to over-population in the Florida Waters. Nevertheless, they worked their way into our culture and have a prominent place on our National Coat of Arms.
The life cycle of crocodiles is well represented here – from the eggs, to the hatchlings through the aged.
The older ones were all lounging around in various areas, separated from the public, of course, some seeming like statues with their mouths in various positions. That is until they thought it was feeding time. All of a sudden, the previously motionless animals come to life and their sole goal is to feed.
There were other animals but those were the ones I found most interesting.
The main draw, for me anyway, is that part of the 1973 James Bond Thriller, Live and Let Die, was filmed here. In the scene, Bond escapes from an island surrounded by a sea of crocodiles by jumping across their backs like stepping stones. Then owner of Swamp Safari, Ross Kananga, served as Bond’s (Roger Moore’s) stunt double. We watched the movie clip and some of the B-roll footage. That was interesting. If you are a James Bond fan, you will want to see this. After all these years, you will still recognize James’ Bond island.
In the past, they used to charge to take a picture holding a crocodile. At the time of our visit, we were able to take our own pictures. I hope they continue to allow that. At least you don’t feel nickeled and dimed.
There is a restaurant and bar on the outside. The restaurant wasn’t opened when I went so I can’t comment on the food. You could buy drinks from the bar.
Just So You Know …
I must say that I stopped by in June 2016 to get some additional pictures of things to do in Falmouth. I met the most knowledgeable guide. She was fun and informative. Her name was Racquel. If she is there, I am sure you will be in for an excellent tour. Make sure you tell her that Sherry and Darrell from Mais Oui Villa said hi!
Jamaica Swamp Safari Village is just outside of Falmouth, Trelawny and is about a 20-25-minute drive from Mais Oui Tennis and Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica.
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Have you visited Jamaica Swamp Safari Village? How was your experience? Let us know. Leave a comment below.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Til next time,
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups.
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Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!