Jamaica is one of those Caribbean destinations most known for its incredible adventures. The Swamp Safari Village in Falmouth is one of those. This is a popular natural attraction that is probably most known for its use as a famous movie set in Jamaica. The location was featured in the 1972 James Bond movie, ‘Live and Let Die’. The famous crocodile jumping scene was also filmed here, which makes sense as the safari is home to over 150 American crocodiles. For fearless animal enthusiasts and James Bond fans, this presents the ultimate vacation adventure, promising an exciting and memorable experience!
But wait, before you hop on a plane for this adventure, there are a few things you need to know. For starters, this safari has quite humble beginnings, starting just as a farm. This was no ordinary farm though, crocodiles were and continue to be a central focus. Over time, the offerings at Swamp Safari Village have expanded, and now visitors can enjoy exhilarating safari tours featuring a range of animals as part of their experience. There’s just so much to discover about this location including how it came to be featured on the big screen. We’ve got it all covered in this handy guide!
The Jamaica Swamp Safari Village originated in 1969 as a crocodile farm by American Ross Heilman, aka Ross Kananga. Evolving into a wildlife preserve, it now houses an eclectic mix of wild animals, including a lion and black leopards. Guided tours are now available, and the safari is open to tour groups for daily shows.
Currently, the Jamaica Swamp Safari is operated by River Raft Limited since 2011. Set on 50 acres of natural mangrove habitat in Falmouth, Trelawny, it's also home to native island species like the Jamaican yellow snake and the rare Jamaican coney, found only in Jamaica. An aviary with incredibly unique bird species and other animal sightings, such as wild boars, agouti, and spotted paca, completes the experience.
The main focus for preservation at the Jamaica Swamp Safari are crocodiles, which are protected by Jamaican law. Initiatives include the rescue and housing of injured crocodiles and producing healthy hatchlings, many of which are raised in captivity for a few years and then released back into the wild.
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The main focal point at the Swamp Safari Village is the safari tour, which takes around an hour. You'll be guided through the natural mangrove habitat, witnessing crocodiles in every stage of development, including hatchlings, babies, juveniles, and adults. If you’re not prepared for it, the sight of crocodiles leaping out of the water can certainly make you jump. During a planned pole feeding, you'll be given a heads-up.
On the Swamp Safari Tour, you're likely to meet resident crocodile expert Donald ‘Buddy’ Roach, who showcases the power and strength of these amazing creatures. Your guide will share fascinating tidbits on crocodiles, including their designation as prehistoric creatures. The tour is open for all ages, so kids can come along for the fun!
The tour also includes a chance to meet the 20-foot Green Anaconda called ‘Shakira' and visit the largest walk-through aviary in Jamaica. At the end of the tour, you might be offered a chance to hold a baby crocodile or a Jamaican Boa, making it an unforgettable experience!
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The Jamaica Swamp Safari Village was a film location in a popular James Bond movie. You can learn specifics of the movie set made famous from this flick. The actual crocodile jumping escape stunt was performed by Ross Kanango, the creator of this space. The villain in the movie is said to be named after Ross himself. While there probably won’t be any actual crocodile jumping during your visit (aside from the crocs themselves!), you’ll certainly be able to learn how exactly this location was chosen to be the setting of such an incredible movie.
Good to know: The James Bond movie producers found out about Ross Kananga’s farm while scouting for movie locations and were particularly intrigued by his sign which read, “Trespassers Will Be Eaten”!
Located in Falmouth Jamaica, you can either get to Swamp Safari Village with a tour or by driving yourself. With a car rental, it will take around 35 minutes from Montego Bay and about an hour and 15 minutes from Ocho Rios.
For a simple and easy tour experience, choose from various options including tours by Island Routes, which offer Swamp Safari excursions and combination tours, such as the popular Bamboo Rafting at Martha Brae Swamp Safari perfect for families.
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The Jamaica Swamp Safari Village is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, with entrance fees required for adults and children ages 2 to 12. Most tours include the entrance fee with the tour package, but be sure to ask during the booking process or contact Swamp Safari Village directly for current pricing.
The Swamp Safari excursion involves walking, and the animals may jump from the water, so it's not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart or respiratory problems, or back or neck issues. If you're going on the tour with children, consider that it includes large animals and extensive walking, so ensure everyone wears comfortable walking shoes and lightweight, comfortable clothing to beat the heat.
Apart from these guidelines, don't forget to bring water to stay hydrated and sunscreen to protect your skin. Insect repellent will come in handy when walking through the mangroves. And remember to always ask the guides before taking photos to avoid disturbing the wildlife.
Visiting the Swamp Safari Village in Jamaica is an exciting island expedition, ideal for animal and nature lovers and anyone interested in an enjoyable day out. With fascinating reptiles, birds, and other animals to learn about during the tour, and its history as a famous movie location, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience for all.
When planning a vacation that includes trips to places like the Swamp Safari Village, get all your ducks in a row in terms of planning. Accommodation is important, and all-inclusive resorts, like Beaches Resorts, can be perfect for this type of vacation. With multiple restaurants, entertainment, unlimited sports, pools, and a water park, this resort is perfect for experiencing unique “island firsts,” just like the captivating Swamp Safari Village!
Expert tip: If adventure and exploration are what you have in mind for your travels, then the Black River Safari Jamaica, Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios, Turtle River Falls, and even bamboo rafting can be well worth your while in Jamaica!