Royal Palm Reserve
Tel:- (1 876) 364-7407
The Royal Palm Reserve is one of the biggest Eco-tourism attractions in Jamaica. It is situated on a three hundred (300) acre expanse within the six thousand (6000) acre Negril Great Morass (bordered by the Negril Hills in the east and the Orange Bay Community to the west). The Great Morass is a protected area that is managed by the Negril Area Environmental Protection Trust (NEPT). NEPT's objectives for the Royal Palm Reserve are
- to conserve and protect the Negril Great morass and its wetland flora and fauna;
- to raise awareness of the importance of the Great Morass and the wetland eco-systems to the area;
- to increase scientific knowledge of the area and
- to provide job opportunities to citizens of neighbouring communities.
The Royal Palm Reserve is an ideal place for nature lovers who enjoy bird watching, fishing and nature walks. There is a museum on premise with books, natural exhibits, a model of the wetlands and posters of the natural environment created by students. Also on premise is a half a mile boardwalk surrounded by lots of tropical foliage, which leads to the petite Cotton Tree lake where fishing is sometimes permitted. Along the boardwalk you will also find a thirty (30) feet observation tower that overlooks the mangroves.
Endemic Jamaican species can be seen in water or hanging out in the lush tropical foliage. Many tropical birds can be seen and heard while walking on the boardwalk. The endangered West Indian whistling duck can often be found near Cotton Tree Lake. On the way out of the reserve is a gated area with a trail to a crocodile farm where several American crocodiles can be found popping their heads above murky water.
Activities at the Royal Palm Reserve include guided and unguided boardwalk tours, bird watching of some fifty (50) species of birds, sport fishing, company retreats, wedding, school tours, scientific research and sometimes horse back riding. The entrance fee is very affordable.
History and ecology
During the mid- 1980's the Royal Palm Reserve was developed as part of a proposal for mining peat in the Negril Great Morass. The area is home to many examples of the morass Royal Palm (Roystania Princes), a species which is endemic to the area.
According to a 1985 botanical study of the reserve, one hundred and nineteen (119) plant species were discovered, including
- royal palm,
- anchovy pear,
- wicker vine,
- saw grass and
An ecological study was also conducted that year and over three hundred (300) animal species were discovered, dominated by insects including
- bees and wasps.
Other animal included about fifty two (52) species of birds and reptiles; like
- the endemic Jamaican pond turtle,
- frogs and toads,
- fish and
Today, one hundred and fourteen (114) plant species including one of the largest stands of Royal Palms in the world and over three hundred (300) animal species, such birds, butterflies and reptiles can be found at the reserve.© 2010 Jamaica Travel and Culture .com