Thinking of going on holiday this year to any of the following places? Read this article and think again!
With conflict in one way or another since 1979, Afghanistan is one of the poorest and most dangerous nations on earth. A typical extreme tourist trip to Afghanistan should include encountering Taliban terrorists, being kidnapped for ransom, visiting the opium fields and getting shot at by warlord controlled heroin barons (1/3 to 2/3rds of the world?s illegal opium comes from Afghanistan). Caution should be taken when sight-seeing, as the country has the largest concentration of land mines and other unexploded ordinance on earth.
Our Travel tip: Take a metal detector
Increasingly sophisticated terrorism targeting foreigners and Western interests
British nationals under ongoing threat of kidnapping and assassination
Widespread danger from mines and unexploded ordnance
Violent protests and rioting targeting Western interests
Criminal activities and violence stemming from drug trade
Travel risk: Ultra Extreme
The chances of you even getting your luxury yacht to Somalia in one piece aren?t high ? the waters surrounding the country have the world?s highest incidences of piracy; we?re talking heavily armed gunships, and I don?t mean Blackbeard with his cannons. Somalia currently offers the danger loving tourist a full on civil war between rival warlords. It has been without a real central government since 1991 when President Siad Barre was overthrown and since then there have been 14 separate attempts to establish a government ? all have failed.
Our Travel tip: Write a will before you go!
High level of criminal activity by armed militia including kidnapping and robbery
Frequent inter-clan fighting and attacks on relief workers and journalists
Piracy and armed robbery against ships in and around Somalia's waters
High threat from terrorism against foreigners and Western interests
Travel risk: Extreme
If you can avoid daily car and suicide bombings, kidnappings for ransom, torture and murder, Iraq is a beautiful, warm country with plenty of culture. Be sure to avoid all contact with other humans though; even if you avoid the terrorists and kidnappers, 36% of civilian deaths since the end of Operation Desert Storm have been related to criminal activities. Don?t go near coalition forces either ? friendly fire situations are increasingly common as jittery troops shoot first and ask questions later. If the hostilities aren?t extreme enough for you, take a scenic trip to the north of the country, where there have been outbreaks of bird flu.
Our travel tip: Attach orange canvas sheets to the roof of your vehicle, which is a sign to allied aircraft that you?re a friendly. As if that will make any difference..
Frequent kidnappings some of which result in the murder of hostages
Daily car and suicide bombings and other terrorist activity often aimed at foreigners
Crossfire between international forces and insurgents
Random and indiscriminate sectarian violence
Outbreaks of bird flu in northern Iraq
Travel risk: Extreme
Pack your bicycle for a rollercoaster trip through this African nation ? Fuel is scarce and means that there is very limited police and emergency service coverage. The fact that the police can?t get around is probably a good thing however, due to their history of brutal beatings and corruption. The nation is ruled by Robert Mugabe, whose presidency was secured by unfair elections with imprisoning and beating of all opposition.
Our travel tip: Avoid farms. Those that remain, after Mugabe's destruction of ?illegal structures? owned by white farmers which left 700,000 people without jobs or homes, are a law unto themselves and killing of trespassers is standard practice.
Violent crime, especially against tourists, including robberies and car-jackings
Fuel shortages means limited police force and general emergency services
Political demonstrations, violence and intimidation
Travel risk: High to Extreme
Columbia is a country rich in resources - substantial oil fields, gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal ? so your tourist trip could be quite profitable, if it weren't for the violence and inherent danger in this war-torn country. Columbia used to have the highest murder rate per capita and the highest kidnapping rate per capita in the world, but has since stabilised somewhat and is a far safer place than it used to be. It therefore says something that, after all these improvements, it still has the highest murder rate per capita and the highest kidnapping rate per capita in the world.
Our travel tip: Avoid the national parks. Although beautiful, they're used by the many guerrilla factions as training camps and temporary bases.
Nation parks used as guerrilla training camps
Kidnapping for ransom
Highest murder rate per capita in the world
Highest kidnapping rate per capita in the world
Travel risk: Very High
Beautiful, tropical island in the Caribbean sea, spoiled somewhat by decades of poverty, environmental degradation, violence, instability and dictatorship. A trip to Haiti cannot be considered complete unless you've experienced the wrath of a Voodoo practitioner. It's a good idea to learn a few Voodoo protection rituals whilst you're here ? towns are mostly run by criminal gangs as there is no effective police force. There's also no British Embassy, so don't expect to get rescued if you get kidnapped for ransom ? a common occurrence for foreigners.
Our travel tip: Take your own drinks and plenty of batteries ? such exotic things as water and electricity are scarce in Haiti .
Frequent incidences of violence and kidnappings for ransom
Many Haitian towns controlled by criminal gangs with no effective police force
Basics such as water and electricity unavailable or extremely limited
Attacks on the vehicles of aid agencies and diplomatic staff
No British Embassy and British Consulate operations have been suspended
Travel risk: Very high
7. Democratic Republic of Congo
With 4 million deaths since WW2, The Democratic Republic of Congo offers the intrepid tourist an exceptionally fragile political situation, with the very real chance of plunging back into a full civil war - government forces aided by Angola , Namibia and Zimbabwe , pitted against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda . Whilst enjoying the jungle and African climate, watch out for kidnapping attempts and rebel groups. Over 1000 people die every day from disease (including a huge AIDS epidemic), hunger and violence.
Our travel tip: One of the reasons that the DR Congo has been fought over is that it is exceptionally mineral rich, so don't forget to pack your gold panning kit.
Car-jackings, murders, and kidnappings by active-duty troops and criminal gangs
Fragile political situation, which could deteriorate at short notice
Rebel groups still active in many parts of the region
Travel risk: High
Beautiful countryside, delicious food, silly hats and the highest manslaughter rate per capita in the world. If you?re looking for extreme tourism, Mexico has it all. A prime tourist location, with desert landscapes, snow-capped volcanoes, ancient ruins, teeming industrialised cities, time-warped colonial towns and glitzy resorts, it?s perhaps surprising to see Mexico appear in this list. Of course, a thriving drug trade and criminal gangs make this seemingly sleepy country a mecca for beginners to danger tourism.
Our travel tip: Avoid Mexico City, which on its own records over 15,000 murders every year.
Highest manslaughter rate per capita in the world
15000 murders a year in Mexico City alone.
Travel risk: Medium - High
Domestic Islamic extremist groups, most of which are tied to al-Qaida, make this country worthy of our list. Car bombs, grenade attacks and suicide bombings are aimed at Western targets, domestic politicians and local religious minorities alike and have frequently killed civilians. Once you've experienced all that the cities have to offer, danger wise, try exploring the border with Afghanistan to encounter rogue groups of border hopping terrorists and mountain training camps.
Our travel tip: Don?t be off-put by angry mobs burning effigies; it's a common way to protest about something in Pakistan. When you get home, try using this method to complain about your local MP, or your neighbour leaving the bin on the road.
Suicide bombing attacks
Travel risk: Medium
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, teeming with life, culture.. and crazy drivers. Little danger here of being murdered or kidnapped; most of the population are Buddhist, but once you have experienced travel on the open road here, nothing else will seem quite as scary again. Vehicles travel nominally on the left, but that doesn't stop the 12 million motorbikes (68% of all registered vehicles) driving where they please on the road, and they don't pay much attention to red lights or crossing pedestrians. Over 17,000 people are killed each year due to traffic accidents, mainly motorcycle related, and riding drunk, speeding, and illegally not wearing helmets is common. Terrorist acts are on the increase here too; terrorists travelling into the country are a reminder of the darker side of extreme tourism?.
Our travel tip: Simple ? Avoid ladyboys.
Traffic ? Over 30,000 are injured every week
Muggings and theft
Travel risk: Medium