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Charleston to Savannah: Exploring Gullah Geechee Culture


On a six-day journey from Charleston to Savannah, take part in enlightening tours and encounters to discover the culture, history and impact of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of enslaved West and Central Africans. Travelling with a local leader and meeting expert guides along the way, you’ll uncover Charleston’s Black heritage on an eye-opening bus tour, dive into Gullah Geechee culture during explorations of James Island, Johns Island and St Helena Island, watch an emotive performance in the storied city of Beaufort, and find out about Georgia’s Gullah Geechee heritage on a guided tour of Savannah. Full of good food, music and storytelling, this adventure is not just educational – it’s a whole lot of fun.

6 days, from

$3,295

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: SHKG
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer
Print itinerary

Details

Countries Visited:  United States Of America
Accommodation: Hotel (5 nights)
Transportation: Private Van
Meals: 1 dinners, 5 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Dig into Charleston’s Black heritage on an eye-opening bus tour, and tour the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church, and important figure in the civil rights movement.

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the Gullah Geechee people when you explore James Island and Johns Island, enjoy a traditional lowcountry lunch and take part in a sweet grass weaving workshop.

  • Meet the Gullah Geechee people of St Helena Island, explore with a local guide and learn about their unique language and strong beliefs before tucking into a tasty lowcountry lunch.

  • Take part in a soul-stirring performance in Beaufort, where music and dance are used to share the experience of enslaved Africans brought to South Carolina, then share a seafood boil with the locals.

  • Travel to Savannah, Georgia, and learn about the state’s Black and Gullah heritage during in-depth tours with local experts, then round off your adventure with Sunday worship at a Black church.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Charleston

Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina! With one foot in the past and another planted in the present, remnants of the city’s history are evident wherever you look. Your adventure kicks off with a 7.30am welcome meeting at the Explore Charleston Visitor Center on Meeting Street, where you’ll meet up with your local leader and fellow travellers. After the meeting, take a guided tour of James Island and Johns Island to gain a deeper understanding of Gullah Geechee culture. The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of West and Central Africans enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. This isolated enslavement led to the development of rich and unique culture, language and art, with many ties to their African roots. Enjoy a lowcountry lunch at a local eatery then take part in a sweet grass workshop where you’ll learn about the origins of sweet grass basket weaving and craft a piece yourself. Back in Charleston this afternoon, tour the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church. Founded in 1817, this is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the Southern United States. Learn about the role the church played in the civil rights movement, and pay respects to the victims of the 2015 massacre which claimed the lives of nine African American church members, including the pastor.

Day 2: Charleston

Today you will head out to discover Charleston’s Black heritage on a bus tour with a local guide. Stop at the Old Slave Mart Museum to learn about the role Charleston played in the Atlantic slave trade. and visit the new International African American History Museum to hear of the triumphs of the Black people who stayed in Charleston in the post Reconstruction era – the museum hasn’t officially opened yet, but you’ll be invited in for a first look and private tour. The rest of the day is free for your own discoveries of the city. You may like to check out the Charleston City Market, or visit the Chuma Gallery, showcasing the art of the Gullah people of coastal South Carolina.

Day 3: Beaufort

Say goodbye to Charleston after breakfast this morning and travel to St Helena Island, known for its rich Gullah Geechee culture and history. On arrival, pay a visit to the Gullah Geechee Visitor Center, meet some of the Gullah Geechee locals who call the island home. Join local guides for a tour of the island and find out how the Gullah Geechee have retained their West African culture and traditions while eluding the effects of slavery, and learn about their beliefs and unique language. Enjoy a flavoursome lowcountry lunch before touring the Penn Center, the site of the former Penn School, one the first schools in the country for formerly enslaved individuals. From here, continue to the city of Beaufort, located on Port Royal Island. Beaufort is celebrated for its seafood and soul food, so be sure to ask your leader for tips on where to eat tonight.

Day 4: Beaufort

Head out this morning and get to know Beaufort, starting with a walking tour of the future home of a Harriett B. Tubman Museum and the Tabernacle Baptist Church, a registered national historic site. You’ll also visit the burial site and memorial of Gullah pioneer Robert Smalls and hear his remarkable tale of heroism during the civil war and his influence on the state of South Carolina. Learn about the Reconstruction Era National Park on a guided museum and walking tour, then loop back to the Tabernacle Baptist Church where you’ll help to cook a tasty lowcountry favourite for lunch. Take some time to freshen up back at the hotel, then set out to watch an emotive performance capturing the experience of enslaved Africans brought to South Carolina, and the strength and determination that ensured their Gullah Geechee culture and traditions would live on. After enjoying an interactive performance of music, dance and theatrics, tuck into an outdoor seafood boil with residents of Beaufort and St Helena Island.

Day 5: Savannah

Leave South Carolina behind and cross the state line as you travel to Savannah, Georgia. On arrival, meet with a local expert for an enlightening tour of Savannah’s Black cultural heritage. Explore the Pin Point Heritage Museum, dedicated to Gullah Geechee culture, then see a different side of Savannah when you visit Skidaway Island State Park. Take on some of the park’s most beautiful hiking trails and enjoy a peaceful break from the city. Return to the Savannah in the afternoon and join a local guide for a tour that digs into the city’s history of slavery. This evening, you may like to join your group for a final dinner at a local restaurant and toast to the end of your adventure.

Day 6: Savannah

It’s the final day of your tour, but the fun’s not over just yet. After breakfast this morning, head to the local Black church to take part in a joyous Sunday worship service with the community. Once the service is over, transfer to Savannah airport and say your goodbyes, as your adventure comes to an end here.

6 days, from $3,295

to book call 1-844-205-6226


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