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8 places for budget travelers to try in the off-season

By: Josh Lew on Jan. 3, 2013, 11:37 a.m.
Gambia river sunset

Photo: thebombcircle/Flickr

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This tiny West African nation is surrounded by the larger French-speaking nation of Senegal. A beach destination for vacationers from Europe and elsewhere in Africa, Gambia also boasts some interesting cultural attractions and accessible wildlife and eco-tourism destinations. The cool dry season, from November through April or May, draws the most tourists. However, the rainy, muggier summers are not unbearably hot or wet by tropical standards. Places like the Makasutu Culture Forest, a huge cultural and eco-tourism attraction, can give tourists a non-beach-related taste of Gambia. Because of its small size and tourism infrastructure, this is a great destination for people who want to introduce themselves to the wildlife and culture of the continent. More adventurous travelers can head into the inland sections of the country, which is not crowded even during the high season. The River Gambia National Park features virgin forests and creatures such as baboons, chimpanzees and huge crocodiles.