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Black River Safari

Black River Safari Jamaica

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The Black River Safari one of Jamaica’s best-known natural habitats and the country’s largest navigable river. The Black River Safari is encompassed by many things but more noted for the marriage of ecology and history while entertaining.

Situated on the South coast of Jamaica in the Parish of St Elizabeth, the Black River is significant to the overall balance of the country’s eco-system. A tour of this nature lover’s paradise will take you three miles up the river and back. The natural beauty of the milieu will mystify the mind like never before. The over 100 species of beautifully plumed birds that made the Black River home will always seem to bring one’s mind closer to how great creation is. However, perhaps the most famous residence of the Black River is the endangered crocodiles.

This river is quite populated with crocodiles ranging in all different sizes. There is also a wide array of freshwater fish who find it quite favorable to occupy the Black River as well as creating a perfect balance of wildlife. This is one of Jamaica’s best natural resources which keeps foreigners and locals amazed at the abundance of nature that is concentrated in this little spot.

  • See crocodiles, tropical birds, and mangroves
  • 3 miles ride up Jamaica’s largest navigable river
  • Learn of the history and ecology of the Black River

Important Information

  • Round Trip Transportation
  • Professional Driver Guide
  • Entry/Activity Fee (you must pay this at the tour)

Additional Info

  • Tour duration is not inclusive of travel time to tour location
  • All tours are weather permitting
  • 20% deposit to PayPal is required for all online bookings
  • Age & Weight restrictions may apply

Cancellation Policy

For a full refund of the deposit or total paid, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the tour.

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black river tour jamaica

J. Charles Swaby’s Black River Safari is an eco-tourism attraction which began operation in November of 1987. The attraction strives to educate its visitors about the various forms of marine life and importance of the Black River Morass whilst providing the thrill of a lifetime to its guests. There is also an ongoing Crocodile Nursery program at the attraction that aids with the rescue and rehabilitation of crocs of all sizes. The nursery is on view to all guests who visit the safari.

Experience the thrill of a lifetime on Jamaica's longest navigable river; The Black River.

black river tour jamaica

Combination Tours (Transportation Included) 2 Products

Safari Boat Tours

Safari Boat Tours 1 Product

YS Falls Entry

YS Falls Entry 1 Product

Pelican Bar Trips

Pelican Bar Trips 1 Product

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1 Crane Road, Black River, Jamaica

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Black River Safari Tour Jamaica

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Embark On The Black River Safari Tour Jamaica

The Black River Safari is home to many Jamaican crocodiles, as well as interesting flora. You will observe the crocodiles in their natural environment, while the experienced handlers interact with them.

black river tour jamaica

On your Black River Safari tour Jamaica cruise you will travel to the South Coast of Jamaica and experience the island’s wetland area. Prepare to embark on a 90 minute motor boat ride through Jamaica’s biggest navigable river.

On your 6 mile journey up and down the river, your boat guide will educate you about the safari’s ecosystem. You will learn about some of the bird species living there (over 100) freshwater fish as well as the endangered American Crocodile, who inhabits the swamp and are spotted quite frequently.

The flora of the safari is quite intriguing as well, with thatch palms, three species of mangroves, royal palms and freshwater foliage as well.

So if you are seeking a trip that will strike a perfect balance of history and ecology while keeping you thoroughly entertained, then the Black River Safari Jamaica is the adventure you are seeking.

Safari Tours Include Pickup/Departure From

  • Montego Bay
  • South Coast

Black River Safari Tour Prices Include

  • Round trip transfer in an air-conditioned vehicle to and from the Black River Safari in St. Elizabeth
  • Pickup and return to your accommodation
  • An experienced and knowledgeable driver that will guide and assist you during this excursion
  • Last minute booking options for Black River tours
  • Competitive prices. Our rates match or beat the biggest tour companies in Jamaica
  • Exclusive Jamaica concierge service available

Price Excludes

  • Entrance fee
  • Refreshments
  • Any additional expenses
  • Refreshment Pack – this is an igloo with ice, plastic cups, 2 red stripe beers, 2 bottles of water and 2 fruit drinks
  • Photographer Package – one of our photographers will use their DSLR camera to take high-quality photos of you during your excursion(s) that day
  • Pelican Bar Tour – take a boat ride out to Pelican Bar in the middle of the sea to swim, drink and enjoy yourself
  • YS Falls – this is the premier falls in St. Elizabeth that comes highly recommended. Black River Safari and YS Falls are a popular combo
  • Appleton Estate – learn how the popular Appleton Rum is made from sugar cane in this informative tour
  • Little Ochi Seafood Lunch – have lunch at the popular dining spot in St. Elizabeth.
  • Jamaica Travel Concierge – Become a MYJATG VIP to unlock exclusive perks. Some examples include transfers in a limo or luxury vehicle, lunch reservations, wake-up calls, police escort, 24-7 support, shopping, errands and much more
  • Travel Health Insurance - TRAMEDIN, our travel insurance partner provides affordable Travel Medical Insurance plans that can cover your trip and your Black River Safari tour in Jamaica

Cancellation Policy

Cancel this tour 7 or more days before the tour date and you will receive a 100 percent refund

Any cancellations done after 7 days before the date of your tour will be NON-REFUNDABLE

jamaica black river safari

What To Expect

We will transfer you to the Black River Crocodile Safari Jamaica in St. Elizabeth, where you will receive a guided tour of the river and the safari via motorized boat.

Your driver/guide will ensure you are able to purchase your ticket and gain entry with ease, and take you back to your accommodation. After your tour you can go have lunch, go to another tour or head back home.

What To Bring

  • Cash or card to cover your entrance fee and lunch
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses/hat for shade
  • A tip for your driver (if desired)

Why You Should Book Your Black River Safari Tour in Jamaica With MYJATG

  • Experienced and professional driver to handle your transportation and guide you
  • Get picked up directly at your accommodation, and transferred to the Black River Safari
  • You will be supported by a solid company with over 12 years experience in the hospitality industry
  • A percentage of our profits will be donated to a charity or communities in need
  • All cars driven by our drivers are fully insured and registered
  • Select other options/add-ons during booking to enhance and customize your Black River Safari Jamaica

You will be picked up at your accommodation anywhere in Jamaica and transferred to and from the Jamaica Black River Safari tour in St. Elizabeth.

Spend around 2 ½ hours to 3 hours on the boat ride of the swamp, as well as the miniature zoo they have on the property. 

Return to Accommodation

After your tour ends, your driver can take you to have lunch, to other tours if you opt into them, or head back to your accommodation.

Related Tours

YS Falls Jamaica Tour

YS Falls Jamaica Tour

black river tour jamaica

Floyd’s Pelican Bar Jamaica Tour

Appleton Rum Tour Jamaica

Appleton Rum Tour | Appleton Estate

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Awesome and informative tour! I took it with a group of colleagues vacationing in Jamaica. I highly recommend My Jamaican Tour Guide for all your tours and transfers in Jamaica.

2018 05 2

Montego Bay / Ocho Rios / Treasure Beach / Port Antonio Bluefields / Lucea / Fallmouth / Discovery Bay / Runaway Bay " href="https://www.jamaicaonestop.com" target="_blank"> Montego Bay / Ocho Rios / Treasure Beach / Port Antonio Bluefields / Lucea / Fallmouth / Discovery Bay / Runaway Bay      


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Black River Safari

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BEACH RESORT MAP Click on resort name for additional photos and information from our 25 years experience in Negril

black river tour jamaica

CLIFF RESORTS MAP Click on resort name for additional photos and information from our 25 years experience in Negril since 1998

black river tour jamaica

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We require 24 hours to book a tour For single tours the pickup time is 10 AM

IMPORTANT: Appleton Estate will be closed from Sept 12 - 25, 2023

Black River Safari Crocodile Up Close

Private Tour, Scenic Tour, Lunch Provided, Alligators, Boat Tour, Tour Fees Included

Discover the beauty of the South Coast with a boat tour. Launch up Jamaica's largest navigable river and through what is Jamaica's largest wetland area, Black River Safari the Black River lower morass.

The 1 1/2 hour boat tour up the Black River is well worth it. Cruise in a comfortable Safari boat past giant Red Mangrove trees with their stilt-like roots cascading from heights of over 40' down into the tranquil waters. See the rare and endangered American Crocodile in it's natural habitat and view some of the 100 species of exotic birds in these unspoiled wetlands. You can also view local fisherman still catching fresh crabs in long, thin, traditional wooden canoes - in the same river as the crocodiles!

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Enjoy a cruise down Jamaica’s largest river, get to see Crocodiles of all sizes, explore the lush vegetation, and mangroves and view exotic birds as you journey along.

The Black River Safari is an eco-tourism activity in the parish of St. Elizabeth on Jamaica’s south coast. Take a boat ride on the longest navigable river in Jamaica, pet and feed friendly crocodiles and learn about the area’s colonial history.

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What to pack for your trip

Comfortable clothes, closed-toe shoes, a small amount of cash, plan a visit.

Enjoy this tour by comfortable motorboat up Jamaica’s longest navigable river, through Jamaica’s largest wetland area. Learn about the area’s ecology and history from the experienced captain/guide. See many of the more than 100 bird species. Meet a few of the friendly crocodiles as your boat captain calls them by name. Take in the wetlands vegetation, including different species of mangrove, palm, and other plants that grow along the banks of the river. Enjoy a ride through Lovers Lane, created by the roots of the mangroves.

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An Insider's Guide to Black River, Jamaica

By Ruth C. White

An Insider's Guide to Black River Jamaica

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You won't find the tiny, historic coastal town of Black River—my childhood hometown—on the itinerary of most visitors to Jamaica . Visitors tend to frequent the touristy towns on the North Coast such as Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, or the town of Negril on the western-most end of the island. Located on the southwest side of Jamaica, Black River is named after the nearby river that meets the Caribbean sea. Though it isn’t popular as a tourist destination, it is a great base for exploring some of the island’s more unique outdoor activities, ecotourism, and authentic Jamaican food.

Because of its almost non-existent hotel offerings, most tourists who stay on the South Coast are based in Treasure Beach (40 minutes away by car)—making Black River a worthy day trip from that resort area. From the Montego Bay airport, Black River is a two-hour drive south: You can rent a car, hire a taxi , or catch the  Knutsford Express coach to Luana, where a taxi will take you into town about five minutes away. If you’re staying in Negril, it’s an hour and 20 minutes away by taxi or rental car. Check with your hotel tour desk for South Coast tours that include some combination of Appleton Rum Tour, YS Falls, Pelican Bar and Black River Safari.


Swim in YS Falls, which features seven cataracts of waterfalls.

What to do in Black River, Jamaica

The town is named after the Black River, the longest river in Jamaica and largest wetland in the English-speaking Caribbean which is home to mangrove forests, crocodiles, and dozens of species of birds.  Charles Swaby’s Black River Safari will take you for a ride up the river to see this stunning ecosystem and maybe some wild crocodiles. No visit to the south coast is complete without a visit to Pelican Bar —a very unique bar and restaurant located on a sand bar in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and only accessible by boat. Built by fisherman Floyd Forbes in 2001, it was originally just a spot for his fisherman friends, and is now one of the coolest beach bars in the world. A rag-tag structure built of driftwood, it's decorated with flags and license plates from around the world and sports a kitchen, tiny gift shop, and eco-toilet. It is standing room only on weekends, especially at sunset when a cold Ting, Red Stripe, Guinness, or a strong rum punch is the perfect accompaniment to fresh fish done your way as you watch the sun show off her colors. 

A stunning alternative to the world famous Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios,  YS Falls is my favorite place on the whole island. It features seven stunning cataracts of waterfalls, situated in lush jungle that stars long-tailed hummingbirds (the national bird), bright red ginger flowers, and many types of orchids and bromeliads. Aside from the falls there are several interconnected heated spring water pools, a poolside restaurant, gazebos, and gift shop, with rope swings and a zipline for the more adventurous. Once you buy a ticket for the falls in the street side gift shop, you get on an open-air bus that drives alongside the YS River through verdant fields where the owner’s family raises cattle and horses as it takes you to the falls. 

Further north on the main road is Holland Bamboo Avenue, a two-mile stretch of road where huge bamboo trees on either side of the road arch over the middle making a stunning bamboo tunnel. If you want to learn how world famous Jamaican rum is made, and sample and purchase some of the best on the island, take a 45-minute drive from Black River to the historic  Appleton Rum Estate for a tour that includes a glass of rum punch. Lastly, between the Black River Market and High Street, there is a historic marker for the 1781  Zong massacre  of enslaved people, when 130 occupants of a British slave ship named the Zong were killed by crew members in a fraud to get reimbursed by insurers, after the ship ran low on drinking water.

Captain Joseph of Jakes Hotel with his afternoon catch.

Captain Joseph of Jakes Hotel with his afternoon catch.

Enjoy drinks on the balcony at Jakes.

Enjoy drinks on the balcony at Jakes.

Where to eat

Black River has a variety of food options with an emphasis on fresh fish by the sea.  Juici Patties on High Street is part of the island’s largest fast food chain, and offers the Jamaican lunch time staple in beef, chicken, veggie and shrimp varieties, to be enjoyed with local beverages like the award-winning Ting grapefruit soda or D&G Ginger Beer. Or wash it down with fresh coconut water straight from the coconut sold by vendors in the parking lot. Score fresh fruit and local arts & crafts at the Black River market which features the produce of St. Elizabeth, known as the breadbasket of the island.

Cloggy’s on the Beach on Crane Road over the bridge from the center of town has been a popular local fish spot since opening in 1998 by local (who’s now deceased) Victor “Cloggy” Clarke. Cloggy’s has a small bar and a covered beachside dining area, and food cooked traditionally over a wood-fired flame. Select your choice of fish: parrot, grouper or snapper (my favorite) from a cooler and decide how it is cooked: steamed, fried, stewed, or escoveitched. Eat with a side of fried bammy—a chewy, flat bread made with cassava. Escovitch is a Jamaican version of the Spanish style of cooking after which it is named: fried and dressed with spices, in this case scotch bonnet peppers, onions, bell peppers and vinegar. While you wait, you can dip your feet in the Caribbean, then try a large cup of ‘fish tea’ (the Jamaican term for fish broth) and a couple ‘festivals’ (small logs of slightly sweet fried bread) for starters. Cloggy’s also serves up lobster and conch done your way when they’re in season. Lobster season closes April through June each year, and conch season usually closes from August until the end of February, during which it is illegal for the mollusk to be served. 

Less than a quarter mile away you will find  Las Vegas Cafe , another beachside spot that’s more upscale than Cloggy’s, with outdoor covered eating spaces and an air-conditioned interior. On weekend nights it’s very busy with locals and out-of-towners who dress up for a night out. Both Cloggy’s and Las Vegas have vegan and vegetarian options.

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For home-style Jamaican staples such as curry goat, oxtails, and stewed chicken, check out Tastee Restaurant (near the Black River market), and Waterloo Guest House on the High Street— a great spot to watch a blazing sun quickly drop over the horizon at sunset. Waterloo makes great fried chicken  and made-to-order Jamaican-Chinese versions of fried rice and chow mein. Drive ten minutes north into the interior and you will find Middle Quarters, the home of spicy peppered shrimp and crawfish caught locally in the swamps connected to the Black River, made by women traders who sell roadside and do a drive-up business.  The only place to find this delicacy on the island, ‘pepper shrimp’ is not for the faint of heart, as the fiery Scotch Bonnet peppers with which they are prepared will make your eyes water and your nose run.

The master bedroom of the Treasure Cottage at Jakes.

The master bedroom of the Treasure Cottage at Jakes.

Octopussy Bungalow at Jakes Hotel overlooks the water.

Octopussy Bungalow at Jakes Hotel overlooks the water.

Where to stay nearby

If you are inclined to stay on the South Coast, there are a few options in the coastal towns of White House, Bluefields and Treasure Beach. In White House, 15 minutes west of Black River, there is the all-inclusive  Sandals South Coast . Nearby and closer to Black River is  Bluefields Bay , a group of all-inclusive villas with private pools, that comes with full staff. Twenty minutes east of Black River is the quiet fishing village and resort town of Treasure Beach, known for its ecotourism, sandy coves, and empty beaches. Your options there include  Jakes, a group of villas and bungalows on the rocky coastline with a stunningly located and highly reputable restaurant, and  Lashings , which has a hotel, villas, a beach club and a stunning tree-top bar. It also has a gallery of works from local artists, and a lively restaurant overlooking a field of herbs and vegetables, which provide ingredients for their menu. 

If you choose to stay in Negril, it is hard to beat  Rockhouse , a series of thatch-roofed, stone-walled cottages perched on the cliffs above the Caribbean. Also known for its excellent food at three on-site restaurants, it was featured in the 1st edition of the popular ‘1000 Places to See Before You Die’. My personal favorite in Negril is  White Sands , which has been owned and operated by the same local family for over 50 years, and features beachside and gardenside rooms, a restaurant serving authentic Jamaican cuisine, and an upstairs eating area that provides gorgeous views of the ocean and beach below. Ask to see the parrots and parakeets that live on the property. 

As the premiere destination in Jamaica, Montego Bay offers a wide selection across price points, that include the newly renovated  Half Moon , which has housed Queen Elizabeth II and JFK—and features a stunning golf course, tennis courts and equestrian center.

Round Hill Hotel and Villas

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Black River Safari, YS Falls and Appleton Estate

black river tour jamaica

  • Private transportation
  • Entrance fee for Ys falls $21
  • Entrance fee for black river $25
  • Entrance fee for Appleton Estate $36
  • Entry/Admission - Black River
  • Entry/Admission - YS Falls
  • Entry/Admission - The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience
  • we pick up from hotels in Negril.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

Similar experiences

black river tour jamaica

  • You'll get picked up See departure details
  • 1 Black River Stop: 90 minutes - Admission excluded See details
  • 2 YS Falls Stop: 2 hours - Admission excluded See details
  • 3 The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience Stop: 2 hours - Admission excluded See details
  • You'll return to the starting point

black river tour jamaica

  • Kstu72 0 contributions Great trip with Demar! Demar was the best! He was very accommodating- waited for us quite awhile as it took us longer to get through customs than we had expected. We felt extremely safe with him the whole time we went back and forth to Negril- he is a very cautious driver! He was also very informative and friendly- we enjoyed our conversations with him! We will definitely use him again and recommend to others! Read more Written February 4, 2024
  • shanolam 0 contributions Great experience! Tiffany was a great. She made our tour worthwhile. Loved every minute of it. She educated each individual on the history of the estate. Great experience overall. Read more Written January 20, 2024
  • 302davonw 0 contributions Great Experience The car was comfortable and the ride was enjoyable . Our driver was on time and understanding. We were actually running behind and he waited for us. He even volunteered to take pictures for us when we stopped along the way. We went to Ricks cafe and enjoyed ourselves. Read more Written January 9, 2024
  • tepitts 0 contributions More than worth it! We first went here last year and decided to go back again. It's really hard to imagine but you're handed a small "mini bottle" filled with sugar water, and a small hole in the cap of the bottle. From there, you sit down, and in a couple of minutes you have the Jamaican long-tailed hummingbirds literally eating out of your hand. Hummingbirds tend to be very shy, but these are very acclimated to being around humans. Lots of photo and video opportunities! When we went (December 2023), the price was $25 USD, and it was worth every bit of it. Read more Written January 7, 2024
  • 480daynar 0 contributions Great tour of Negril with Demar! Demar was fantastic! He knows so much about Jamaica, and answered any question we threw at him. He also seemed genuinely interested in our family, where we are from and what we do. He was very safe (despite some craziness on the roads!), and very punctual. We highly recommend Demar, and will definitely use him again if we are ever back in Jamaica. Read more Written December 31, 2023
  • 460malcolms 0 contributions Fantastic Experience Wow & wonderful experience! Not a tour for people with young children. This excursion was booked through Chukka as part of a package (we'd definitely recommend hiring a driver or booking as part of a package so as not to drive). Be prepared to travel 2 hours outside of town to view this estate. It is well worth the drive. Be prepared for windy roads & fast travel. Plan accordingly with snacks & water as there will only be local roadside stands to purchase items from. However, the estate is fantastic & the tour is very informative. We'd definitely recommend as it is a great day trip. Read more Written December 14, 2023
  • feliciaw849 0 contributions Not worth the money you do not even get a 3/4 taste of Appleton rum. It is actually three drops of three different rum I did a private tour because they did not have one with the group I paid almost $600. The personal driver was great but the tour was short. The taste of the rum was three drops of Appleton rum and is very short and not worth the money. Read more Written December 12, 2023
  • benitapercival2023 0 contributions Amazing - Must visit The Good Unlimited free drinks on arrival was a welcome surprise! Great to see a few peacocks. The Bad Nothing - our guide Peter was amazing, there was an odd smell walking around but that is just the waste and normal as part of the rum making process The Ugly Nothing - beautiful location very informative tour Read more Written December 3, 2023
  • 21irmaf 0 contributions Smooth round trip transportation between MBJ and hotel DG Tours was on time, professional, and friendly. Their van was clean and comfortable with great air conditioning. Though our flight to MBJ was delayed more than 2 hours, they were right there to drive us to our hotel in Negril. Shontay (sp?) and Demar were both excellent drivers for our round-trips from the airport. I recommend DG Tours highly and won't hesitate to use them again! Read more Written November 23, 2023
  • 213dwightd 0 contributions Great waterfall experience. Worth the drive. Dwight was our tour guide. The lunch there is optional but worth it. You can literally lay in the river, take a calcium mud bath, swim through underwater tunnels. It is amazing. Read more Written November 9, 2023
  • anniedN4371YL 0 contributions Beautiful Beach Seven Mile Beach was absolutely stunning! Unfortunately we probably won't be back to stay since we didn't get to relax as we wanted. I am not exaggerating when I say we were approached by vendors every 5 minutes when we were on the beach. a couple of the vendors were aggressive. One calling a man nasty names another swearing us everyone for not letting him draw their portrait. :( Read more Written September 23, 2023
  • Hwatt99 0 contributions 5⭐️ Tour and swim at mayfield falls negril One of the best experiences I’ve ever had, our guide Andray was knowledgeable, friendly, funny and great paparazzi for us! Me and my girlfriend had an amazing time and an unforgettable experience. All the staff were really friendly and it was very fairly priced. 11/10 experience would deffo recommend Read more Written September 3, 2023
  • ashleylopes_1987 0 contributions Excellent!!! Demar was such a great driver for my husband and I he picked us up from our resort in Monay and took us sightseeing and to Seven Mile beach in Negril, Ricks cafe and to eat at a local authentic Jamaican restaurant he was super friendly and knowledgeable and he was a great photographer!Demar made this day the highlight of our trip!! Read more Written August 1, 2023
  • FrequentFlier554277 0 contributions The magical mystery tour Demar was THE BEST driver! He knew exactly what was best for our group tour. He was on time, respectful, fun and informative. We truly enjoyed every moment of our tour because of him! Read more Written July 19, 2023
  • Audrey P 0 contributions Such a great experience This was such a memorable experience for me and my husband. Our tour guide, Andray, was fantastic in directing us through this beautiful river walk. We will definitely be coming back! Read more Written July 7, 2023

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Black River Safari, YS Falls and Appleton Estate provided by DG TOURS

Product overview: black river safari, ys falls and appleton estate.

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The Black River Safari Tour   Wildlife Adventure In Black River, St. Elizabeth

Black River Safari Tour | Crocodile with mouth open

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This trip to the Black River Safari Tour was an experience, to say the least! It is not for the faint of heart and it even took me a while to warm up to the trip. But after getting over the fact that you are indeed on a boat with crocodiles just a few feet away from you, you can actually take in and enjoy the trip and the beautiful scenery the trip up the river provides.

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Watch Video!  The Black River Safari Tour

Take a trip up the river with us:

Ter, wore many hats as he was our driver, tour guide, lifeguard and source of entertainment for the day. His start to the tour was definitely something unexpected.

Donnette the crocodile was given a little kiss on the snout by Ter and then she waved us goodbye and we headed up the river.

Where Is The Black River Safari Tour Located In Jamaica?

Well as the name suggests, the John Charles Swaby's Black River Safari Tour, is located in Black River, the capital of St. Elizabeth. The town was named after the river that runs through the area.

The Black River , although in St. Elizabeth, actually runs from the Cockpit Country in Trelawny. The river runs for 70 kilometres before ending in the Caribbean Sea in Black River St. Elizabeth.

The river is brackish (a mixture of salt and freshwater) for about 7 miles up the river before it becomes completely freshwater. The safari is on 18,000 acres of wetlands, the largest of the English speaking Caribbean.

The Crocodiles

The main event of our trip to the Black River Safari Tour!

Of the 500 crocodiles, we met 4, Victoria, Terrorist, Donnette and Jerry. Terrorist is by far the largest at 18ft. He is the largest on the safari. However, crocodiles can grow up to 25 ft. Jerry is the smallest and stays most of his days up the river. He also quite enjoys being photographed and posed for several pictures before heading on his way.

Crocodiles can swim up to 60 miles per hour and can live for over 100 years. They have 62 teeth in total but, strangely, no tongue. 95% of the crocodile's diet is fish, the other 5% is made up of other sea animals, birds and chickens. Since they have no tongue, the food is swallowed whole or in big chunks. They will then swallow stones which help them in the digestion process.

Crocodiles are cold-blooded animals which mean that without the sun, blood is unable to flow through their bodies. Since they don’t have sweat glands like us humans do, they’ll lay in the sun with their mouths open to cool down.

You also can’t tell the gender of a crocodile by just looking at them as their reproductive organs are inside.

Female crocodiles can lay 60 eggs at a time and take 90 days to hatch. Of the 90 eggs, only 5 or 6% reach full maturity. This is because some eggs are spoiled before they hatch, animals eat them and for the ones that do survive, male crocs will eat them to preserve their role as the dominant ones.

The gender of the crocodiles depends on the temperature. If the climate is hot then males will be born, if it's cool, females will hatch and if the climate is neither hot nor cold then both genders will hatch. Crocodiles generally head to the seashore to lay eggs.

In Jamaica, crocodiles have been protected under the Wildlife Protection Act since 1971 and the protocol when you see a crocodile is not to harm it but to call the authorities and National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA), The Hope Zoo or the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society.

Differences Between An Alligator And A Crocodile

Alligators have a short round snout while crocodiles have a longer snout. When an alligator’s mouth is closed you can’t see its teeth but you are able to see a crocodile's teeth even when its mouth is closed. Crocodiles are also generally more aggressive and grow longer than an alligator would.

Animals On The Black River Safari Tour

  • Snowy Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Great Egret - which eats baby crocodiles
  • Great Blue Heron - a migrant bird from Canada, which flies to the Caribbean during winter.

And in the river you can find:

  • Tarpans (weighing up to 350lbs)
  • African Perch
  • and Shrimps

Plants On The Black River Safari Tour

Mangrove Trees

White and Red Mangrove trees are found on the Black River Safari.  White Mangroves have smaller leaves and a brighter colour than Red Mangroves which have larger leaves and long aerial roots. 

Red mangroves grow 6 inches per year and the ones on the safari are over a150 years old. Their roots come down from the branches of the tree and with water seeking cells at their tips, they won’t stop growing until it reaches a water source. When they finally get to the water, they’ll turn hollow on the inside to transport minerals and nutrients back to the tree.

Mangrove Avenue got its name from its similarity to Bamboo Avenue (also in the parish). It is quiet and peaceful to be surrounded by nature floating along the river. For a while reality takes a backseat.

There are 550 types of ferns in Jamaica, 316 of which can be found in the Fern Gully, St. Ann. Two of these, the only two that can survive in brackish water can be found on the Black River. 

Broad floating plants called pancake lilies or lily pads can be seen along the river sometimes with frogs sitting on them.

There are also Water Hyacinth (water lilies) where you can find freshwater shrimp at the roots. This is where the sellers from Middle Quarters get most of the shrimp for their world-famous spicy shrimp.

Why Is The River Black?

Going up the stream, after a few miles you’ll notice the river getting considerably darker. Till eventually, it turns black, this is where the Black River got its name.

The peat soil at the bottom of the river contributes to the dark colour of the river. But if you were to put some of the water in a container, like our tour guide Ter did, you would come to realise that the water is still clear.

Peat soil comes with its advantages and disadvantages, for one the soil contains methane. The sun ignites the gas which in turn causes wildfires in the wetlands which can burn for days on end.

However, the advantage to the soil is that, when it rains heavily, the soil absorbs the excess water then expels it when there is a drought. This means the river never overflows its banks nor does it ever run dry.

On the river, you’ll get to a junction where the Salt Spring and Black Rivers meet. At this junction, you get a clear view of the Nassau Mountains to the left, where the YS Falls and Appleton Estate are located, The Cockpit Country from which the river flows in the centre and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the right.

The Crocodile Nursery

When you head back from the trip up the river, you’ll visit the Crocodile Nursery.

While it is called the Crocodile Nursery, there are also baby alligators and turtles inside. The nursery is to host young animals and injured crocodiles until they are better. The crocodiles are separated by age and size as the bigger ones will prey on the younger ones.

You’ll even get to hold a baby crocodile if you’d like. (I didn’t)

Interview With Ter | Our Black River Safari Tour Guide

What is the most fun part of the tour?

Ter’s favourite part of the tour is teaching his guests about the wetlands and making people laugh, so much so that he has been doing this for over 7 years.

What is the scariest moment so far for Ter?

He was feeding the crocodiles and Terrorist, the crocodile rushed into the boat because he was touching one of the female crocodiles.

What should you do if a crocodile is chasing you?

Well, Ter suggests outrunning your friend, or climbing a tree and then calling your friend as bait. Although he does call himself our Crocodile Dundee, I would have to disagree with him on this one.

A better idea is to run in a zig-zag pattern making sharp turns as spines are not flexible, therefore they can’t make such sharp turns to the left or right.

What makes Jamaica special?

For Ter, it's the attractions, food, beaches and the warm inviting nature of the people that makes Jamaica special. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and getting to visit places like the Black River Safari Tour which they would otherwise be unable to do if they were in another country is what Ter believes keeps people coming back to our island. For him, Jamaica is the perfect package.

For more information on the Black River Safari Tour, call them at 876-964-2513. You can have your very on wildlife experience between the hours of 8am and 5pm from Monday - Friday.

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Other Pages Related To Black River Safari Tour

You will also find these pages quite helpful as well:

  • Interesting  Jamaican Attractions
  • Historic  Black River, Jamaica
  • Major  Jamaican Rivers

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References & Sources For Black River Safari Tour

  • 😲TERRIFYING moments with CROCODILES on the #BlackRiverSafari Wildlife Tour, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZtgzfplvPU

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