Given the aggravated oil crisis and economic volatility of today, you can easily state that this worldly chaos was inevitable. Even though the UN and other organizations are going to great lengths to make the world the serene and quiet place everyone dreams of, certain countries are having serious and grave issues with religious and military extremists, terrorism, crime rates and several other types of peace threatening activities.
As the people in those countries live in constant fear and are highly concerned about their safety, travelers are strongly advised not to travel there for the time being. Let’s review the most dangerous countries you definitely don’t want to be visiting in 2013.
The deteriorating economic situation in Syria has made it impossible for anyone to watch the news without hearing about a bombing, murder or abuse in this country. However, what is truly worrisome is the fact that in the past months, the criminal offenses have even extended to innocent tourists. Most political leaders agree that the Syrian government is to blame for this and severe restrictions are already in place against the abusive regime. Until the civil war and political chaos there are over, it is best to avoid traveling to Syria.
Currently all British nationals are asked to leave Yemen by any commercial means possible. The Foreign Office advices against all travel to the whole of Yemen due to the recent rise in political instability and the rapid deterioration of security. Yemen has been torn apart by civil wars for years. The most common crimes against travellers are the change of kidnapping and car-jacking. Getting your wallet pinched is the least of your worries. Yemen, although extremely dangerous, is beautiful. In Biblical times it was Noah’s land of milk and honey. The capital, San’a is ancient, its architecture poetic.
Ever since the civil war started in Somalia in 1990, visitors have been avoiding this country in spite of the fact that it has been among the top tourist destinations of all times up to that point. In addition to the civil war, the chaos in Somalia is also linked to the violence between various drug warlords. In fact, their actions are what made Somalia one of the most dangerous places on Earth. If you ever have to go to Somalia, then it is for the best to hire your own bodyguards.
4. South Africa
When they think of South Africa, most people associate it with Nelson Mandela and the last soccer World Cup. And, the truth is that if you are careful while visiting this amazing country, you will surely have a memorable trip. The main issues with South Africa are related to the elevated crime rates and it has even been proclaimed the rape capital of the world. Nonetheless, if you do not wander around on dark alleys during evenings, you will be just fine.
Although the war in Afghanistan has been over for a while, there are still numerous travel warnings that tourists should not ignore. The country is filled with various extremist organizations and extreme violence acts are frequently reported even today. It is necessary to mention the fact that Afghanistan is home to the infamous Al-Qa’ida terrorist organization and that the members of this radical group will not hesitate to kidnap or suppress European and American citizens.
Located in the Sahel region of Africa, Niger is home to roughly 16 million people. However, the foreign offices of Canada, the UK, and the US all recommend against any travel to this impoverished country. If massive flooding, food crises, swarms of locusts, and rampant malaria doesn’t scare you away, maybe the heavily-armed rebels and militants will.
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and is subject to the many problems that poverty brings. Muggings and stabbings are common in the capital Niamey. As well, a recent flood has engulfed much of the city, spreading disease and washing away food stock. But perhaps one of the most troubling aspects of Niger is the presence of many numbers of terrorist groups and militants. The border areas with Libya, Algeria, and Mali are especially dangerous as the lawless territories are covered in landmines and are host to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a group responsible for virtually overthrowing the government in Mali and kidnapping and murdering Westerners.
Similar to other countries in the Middle East, Iraq is affected by terrorist activities that, sadly for the population, have not decreased much despite the fact that Saddam Hussein is dead and his extremist regime long gone. To put it simply, Iraq is a war zone, an image which is highly amplified by the fact that the country lost most of its infrastructure due to war. Iraqi or tourist, nobody is safe there, especially since the country is home to Al Qaeda and extremist Kurdish rebels.
If South Africa is best known for the rape rates, Colombia is considered the world’s capital of kidnapping for ransom. In addition, reporters highlight the fact that kidnappers and cocaine warlords here are using a new drug known in the underground as “the devil’s breathe” because of its capacity of making people follow your every command. However, currently there are no official reports on the incidents involving this new drug, mostly because the victims who are under the influence do not remember anything, not even the faces of the people they were with. Add the armed guerrilla forces and terrorist attacks to the picture and you can understand why it is not a wise decision to visit Colombia any time soon.
The real threat to visitors in this secluded and mysterious place in the south Pacific is from local gangs. There is a huge lack of law enforcement which gives way to common carjackings, assaults, robberies and serious sexual offences. While travelling here has its challenges and risks, the rewards are indescribable. The lack of tourism makes this place a perfect destination to conquer on your own terms, designing your own trip and your own adventures. The capital, Port Moresby, should be visited with caution, as crime is high here. Head instead to the coasts, exploring the D’Entrecasteaux islands and the country’s extremely diverse forests and rich tribal culture.
Honduras is located in Central America and has a population of just over eight million. Although the country is relatively small, its murder rate is huge. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranks Honduras at the number one spot for Highest Intentional Homicide Rate by country with 91.6 murders per 100,000 people in 2011. To put this number into perspective, the United States has a rate of 4.8 murders per 100,000, Canada is at 1.6, and the UK is at 1.2. These numbers are dwarfed by Honduras.
Honduras has become particularly dangerous for journalists since Porfirio Lobo took over the presidency three years ago. At least 22 journalists have been murdered in the Latin American country since Lobo’s election in January 2010, compared to only one journalist murder in the four years before he assumed power. Supposedly the violence against journalists is mostly perpetrated by drug-dealing gangs, local criminal groups, and corrupt members of the government who disagree with any negative press.