Birding at Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden gives birders a chance to be on vacation enjoying the birds in their natural habitat in a maintained garden with level walkways.
The garden is a testament to the vision of Ras Natango who literally created this sanctuary from a cliffside. Using the stones on the property to create terraces and walkways. Eighteen of Jamaica’s 28 endemic birds make the garden their home. The garden is all of that and so much more. Carved in the hillside are terraces for walking and viewing the varied plants.
The entire garden is created with the natural lay of the land and composting year round sustains the garden. Because of the numerous birds living here, the garden is kept chemical-free and homemade methods are used to control pests. Plants that caterpillars love to eat are planted in an area allowing them to devour them thereby leaving the rest of the garden alone and making a butterfly garden. A living ecosystem. The population of birds has increased, not only in the garden, but within the local community.
The entire garden is a continuous trail with different levels, There are many areas for observing the different birds, seating, restrooms and even home-cooked Jamaican meals. A koi pond and small waterfalls adds to the ambiance birding in the garden. Its a birdfly zone so be aware that they will fly straight at you and you will have to move out of their way.
The tour of the garden is 45 minutes to one hour, but visitors generally stay after the guided tour and spend time just looking at the plants and listening to the birds. We have had some unique blooms in this past year. A rear black gladiola and a strange yellow gladiola, huge dahlias, giant begonias, coleus, and over 50 species of fern.
Jamaica has 28 endemic birds, 18 of which are found at Ahhh…, not to mention the migratory birds who arrive late September and depart in March. The garden has river stones painted with the birds seen on property with their scientific and local names for easy identification.
Jamaica’s national bird, the Swallow-tailed Hummingbird (aka the Dr. Bird), is a resident of the garden and can be seen all year round. You may even have a chance to feed the hummingbirds if you arrive near feeding time in the mornings.
The birds are visible throughout the day, however the best times for birding are mornings and late evenings, between the hours of 6 am and 10 am, and 4 pm and sunset. We have affectionately called Ahhh… the bird fly zone as they dart between guests with no fear.
Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden is located approximately 2000 feet above sea level. It is nestled between the communities of Gutters and Kempshot. Visitors arrive by local transportation and walk up the steep, paved driveway. It is an approximately 15 minutes drive from Sam Sharpe Square or the Montego Bay Cruise Pier.
Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden offers guided tours, integrating flora and fauna in the teaching of any subject area. The gallery and garden provides a sustainable source of employment for members of the community and all members of the staff are avid bird watchers who can readily identify the birds by sight and sound.
The entrance fee is US$35 per person (US$20 for children aged 3–11) with US$15 lunches available, as well as juice, coffee, water, tea, and beer available for sale.