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Moore Town. Home to lush greenery, history, a tribe of maroons, and the breath-taking Nanny Falls.

This quiet town is situated between both of Jamaica’s major mountain ranges, the Blue Mountains and the John Crow Mountains, and provides a 360 view of unspoiled natural beauty. Signage erected with imminent pride welcomes patrons to the historic town and provides a quick background story. I became more intrigued to visit a maroon community after witnessing the Charles Town Maroons performance.

Maroon Guide to Nanny Falls

To locate Nanny Falls, it’s as simple as asking a resident for directions. Anyone familiar with Jamaicans giving directions may start to worry at this point, but I urge you to fret not! In my case, 2 elderly women pointed to the route before calling upon another resident from his home to act as a guide. The hospitality was a bit surprising, as it was never expected nor intended to randomly have someone pause their day to accommodate my venture. I later learned that our guide, Chris, is himself a maroon.

Maroon law dictates visitors to Nanny Falls must be accompanied during the entirety of their visit by a maroon.

The Nature Trail to Nanny Falls

You’ll be led to an open, shaded area at which vehicular transportation will cease before beginning a 10-minute uphill hike (like to this hidden waterfall in Kingston, but steeper). In dry conditions the terrain is fair; most of your effort would be invested in the incline (like this hidden waterfall in St. Mary). Along the route you’ll find a variety of plants, trees, and maybe even natural produce to enjoy such as apple, guava, nutmeg, and mammee (ever tried this uncommon fruit?) ! Your maroon guide will provide insights to the trail elements along the way.

The slope along with humidity may cause you to be drenched before reaching the river. If the walk proves to be taxing in any way, there are freshwater springs that may serve as an answer to your prayers. You have the option of drinking water straight from the rock source if desired, I actually ended up storing some as my [appropriately labelled] bottled water had finished.

At the end of the trail is a steep flight of concrete stairs with a partly decayed railing known as ‘the stairway to heaven’, and I can think of 2 reasons why that’s so. These steps lead to a natural beauty hidden in nature, similar to this one in Kingston & St. Andrew (easy hike) and this one in St. Mary (not so easy hike).

Travel Tip: Exercise caution on the stairs

Rejuvenate at Nanny Falls

Large boulders and their rooted trees form a pathway leading to the majestic waterfall, cascading more than 30 feet into the pool below. A large rock creates a circular ledge around the waterfall allowing visitors to walk along the perimeter to shower beneath the cascade if the water level allows. Even when the water is clear, the rush of the waves makes it difficult to see the river floor.

Directly in front of the waterfall is a pit, which non-swimmers especially should be weary of.

The water runoff hitting the pool below creates a spraying mist and what feels like a natural AC. You can probably imagine how exhilarating this was in this Jamaican heat! If you ever needed a refreshing shower or a back massage this may be a great opportunity, though if you stay under it for more than 20 seconds at a time the pressure may become slightly painful.

The only audible sound is the flowing river, far from other people and modern structures. Imagine the relaxation; it is so easy to lose track of time at this natural beauty, so much so that everyone present was able to drift into slumber, both in and out of water.

Nanny of the Maroons

The waterfall is under the jurisdiction of the Moore Town Maroons. Legend has it that National Heroine Nanny, 18th century leader of the Maroons, viewed the waterfall as a healing source. The waters were said to cure the wounds of soldiers who bathed in it, and if not, the soldier would be deemed unfit to return to battle.

There is a monument to the national heroine which shares the burial site ground of former 100-year-old Maroon Colonel Colin Harris. Her body is said to be buried a few metres away from the monument marked by a small bump and dwarf tree, referred to as ‘bump grave’.

Travel Tip: If able, please ask if it’s fine to give a contribution to your maroon guide after selflessly devoting their day to accommodate you.

I visited Moore Town seeking relaxation and natural beauty. I got more than I bargained for, receiving history, lifestyle, and genuine hospitality. To say it was a rewarding day is an understatement! Watch my IGTV-exclusive video recapping the journey.

What intrigues you more so far about Moore Town, the history or the beauty?

Let’s chat in the comments.

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