10 Most Dangerous Countries

Written By: The Planet D

When driving through 15 countries from England to Mongolia in the Mongol Rally, many people expressed concerns about the countries that we were driving through. Sure, we faced corruption and some places will feel like the Wild West of years gone by, but there are more dangerous places in the world. None of the countries listed below were on our route to Mongolia.

But we have even been to The Sudan, we’ve been on the Pakistan border and we have had a friend travel through Afghanistan. All are listed as the Most Dangerous countries on earth.

While this post rounds up dangerous destinations, we aren’t saying to leave them off your travel list forever. Things change and we have visited many destinations on travel watch lists and ended having a wonderful time.  

World’s 10 Most Dangerous Countries

This post was written in 2012, it has not been updated.

People from all over the world love to travel; however, you need to think twice and do your research before visiting these hostile destinations. 

Louis Armstrong sang a song titled, “What a Wonderful World.” Although he is correct that this is an amazing world in which we live in, all parts of the globe are not necessarily safe to visit. In fact, there are some places that are quite dangerous. Drugs, murder and terrorism are all signs of the perilous world today. Crime is also rampant all across the globe.


dangerous countries syria
A building explores in Syria

Terror Index: 8.58
Crime Index: 77.17

Syria is a country in civil war. 250,000 people have lost their lives and refugees are fleeing the country. 11 million people have been displaced. It doesn’t look like there is an end in sight.

Millions of innocent people have been caught in the cross fire of President Bashar al-Assad supporters and those opposed to his rule. The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has also risen and all sides have been accused of war crimes.


Terror Index: 9.44
Crime Index: 77.17

Afghanistan is a country at war. There are land mines dispersed throughout the region, and bombings are a regular affair in the country. Military operations continue to occur in Afghanistan, and there is an array of political unrest in the area.

Parts of the country are under control of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad Union. Afghanistan remains an unpredictable and unstable environment.


Terror Index: 9.96
Criminality Index: 54.76

Saddam may be gone, but the threat is still real. There are terrorist’s organizations and militia groups that place bombs in markets and beside the roads.

Sometimes these groups take hostages and kill them. Ironically, the presence of military troops from other countries has made Iraq even more dangerous. Foreigners could be in danger when they visit Iraq.

Image from Wikipedia Commons
Image from Wikipedia Commons


Terror Index: 7.54
Crime Index: 61.7

The country of Somalia seems to be in chaos because there is no government. The country has become a home for warlords, pirates, kidnappers, Islamist insurgents and angry young people.

Tensions from surrounding borders are trickling into Somalia, and the seas around the country are infested with pirates. Somalia also is suffering from drought, war, famine and high food prices.


Terror Index: 8.61
Crime Index: 56.39

Militants operate freely along the Pakistani border. Pakistan also consists of massive bombings that kill hundreds of people. Violence in the country is out of control, and there are many kidnappings every day in the area.

The Afghan border probably the most dangerous places to be in the country.

punjab border
Dave and Deb at the Pakistan Border in India with no fear

We visited the Pakistan border when we were in India and the people on the other side were friendly. Read about our experience.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Terror Index: 6.63

This country is afflicted with lawlessness and conflict. There are armed militias, military and policemen who pose threats to people in the region.

The military is guilty of corrupt behaviour and abuse, often attacking women. Illegal armed militia groups operate in the area, often using brutal violence, such as rape, on their targets.

Law enforcement officials are non-existent, and justice is nowhere to be found in the country.

South Sudan

Terror Index: 6.6
Criminality Index: 78.18

Lack of control and banditry are not uncommon in Sudan. The country poses a risk of terrorism, violent crime, or getting trapped in crossfire of the genocide or militia attacks.

There are religious extremist in the area that could be drastically against your presence just because of your religion or nationality.

dangerous countries sudan
Just some of the many kind people we met cycling through the Sudan

See our cycling trip through Sudan.


Terror Index: 8.07
Crime Index: 66.67

Al Qaeda is in existence in Yemen, as it is considered to be the home of some of Bin Laden’s most loyal supporters. In addition to Al Qaeda, Houthi rebels in the north keep this nation in constant unrest.


Terror Index:
Crime Index: No Data

Criminal gangs are known to be active in Guinea, and police presence is almost non-existent in the area. There seems to be constant fighting in the region that started in Liberia more than a decade ago.

The area is also considered to be suffering with an overwhelming amount of AIDS cases, and the people live in poverty.


Terror Index: 9.31
Crime Index: 74.33

Nigeria has been the source of periodic episodes of violence for decades. There are many Christian and Muslim disputes that plague the area. The country has been torn apart by wars, violence and ethnic conflict, making the area very unstable.

So when it comes time to plan your next holiday, we suggest you avoid the above, unless of course it’s necessary to travel there, or you really are an extreme adrenaline junkie! 

Clearly most of these countries listed are common sense. Don’t go to a country that is in the middle of a war. That’s normally a good rule of thumb.

However, with the proper research and planning, we would be open to visiting all countries and would definitely visit Pakistan, and plan to in the near future. 

Have you recently travelled to any of the places listed above? Do you agree or strongly disagree with any of the countries mentioned? Let us know and lets get the discussion started.

Read More:

The India Pakistan Border Ceremony, Theatre in Politics

Battling The Indian Passport Curse To Travel The World

Golden Temple of Amritsar, India’s Shining Star

Kumarakom – Entering a Time Warp in the Kerala Backwaters

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

59 thoughts on “10 Most Dangerous Countries”

  1. I’ve travelled through most of these countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Nigeria (albeit a couple of decades ago). When I visited Afghanistan it was back in the late 1970’s and a very different place to what it is today. I am glad I saw it back there. Pakistan was dangerous (even back then). Its a country that tolerates incredible cruelty to women and it is completely understandable how the Taliban set up roots there in the Peshawar district. I would never go back – I was backpacking through Asia with a girlfriend and felt safe everywhere EXCEPT for Pakistan. Iran, in those days, was ruled by the Shah and very pro-western. It wasn’t until 1979 when the fundamentalist Shiites (under the mad Ayotollah Khomeini) took over that things started to go very wrong. It is imperative that travellers be very careful where they go in this day and age because the world has changed. Crimes like kidnapping for ransom are taking hold which puts yourselves and your family at risk. Don’t take silly chances you (and your family) may live to regret. Take notice of international safety warnings and don’t travel into areas that are seriously risky, ie all of the above plus other very dangerous areas like Columbia, Nicaragua and along the ivory coast. Is Nigeria dangerous? YES, YES YES! Anyone travelling there puts themselves at extremely high risk and the chances of your government getting you out unscathed is minimal!

  2. Yall are all wrongggg its clear that MEXICO takes number one over 150000 have died in the past year Los Zetas Cartel have been known for there gruesome killings

  3. The authour is probably mistaken about Nigeria, no matter what its a rich and blessed country with hospitality . Every nation has its weakness. I also think u should get ur facts clear and be careful of ur words so u don’t scare people to death. Developing countries with crisis needs care, love and most of all prayers.

  4. i wud like to very much correct mr khan of accusing america india like that, ive been to couple f places listed…pakistan nd nigeria, its all abt how much u stay out f trouble, obey ur travel guidelines, dont be over enthusiastic, all places are safe, i was not troubled by any one, no one pointed a gun at me, robbed me, abused me, infact ppl were helpfull and keen, i felt safe, its same everywhere in the world, its just our fear or nightmareish thoughts that block our practial prospective towards humanity…but i would like to conclude that, being at a wrong place at a wrong time would get u screwed….and it can happen anywhere in the world….its jst that smwhere there are more chances and smwhere less….stay safe..

  5. Salam!!
    Pakistan is nt dangerous country in the world..It is made dangetous by Indians and Americans. Rate them as dangerous countries..Its a humble request…

  6. Afghanistan Would be in peace if USA,Iran and Pakistan take there hands out off the country.
    There were chances that taliban could rejoin and live as ordinary citizen but when the US Marines Urinted at dead bodies, condition has changed DIASISTER.

  7. i agree with who has wrote this topic, im in iran and live here but pakistani ppl are dangerous in east of iran, they always kill each other and even Afghane ppl are worse, but i bet the u.s is worse than some of these.
    Turkey is better than all , turkey is in my heart , im a Persian not a turkish but i like that
    also israel is so perfect Hehehe

  8. haha.. is pakistan a dangerous country? :p lol ofcourse not! πŸ™‚ how the eff you listed pakistan? c’mon man, im from turkey but i live there in pakistan for couple of months! i didnt find any voilence! no lies πŸ™‚
    you people are just jealous?? jealous because pakistan is one and only muslim nuclear power country, and you can’t see muslim development! right?
    anyways, i agree that there were bomb blasted but by taliban, so how you blame pakistan? did you forget 9/11? did you blame american state? were you listing america in dangerous countries? infact, pakistan was effected only because of america taliban war!
    at the end, just want to say that don’t spread rumors you dave and deb πŸ™‚
    i accept muslims are behind in every feild but one day when we’ll get power, we’ll not spread rumours about non muslim countries πŸ˜‰ haha πŸ˜€

  9. It is sad that these countries are so dangerous and no surprise as these countries are all peopled by either Muslims and/or Christians. The countries with the largest population of atheists are the safest and most law abiding. The followers of the beliefs of Moses seem to be the most dangerous people on Earth, especially when their superstition (religion) is combined with illiteracy. I don’t understand why they kill each other so when their God/??’ could do a perfectly good job of it Him-Her-Itself? It is high time reason and education put an end to the endless blood letting for gods.

  10. I think Cameroon should b on d list of the 10 most dangerous countries in the world and I’m gonna tell u why. The country is faced with problems such as poverty, such sickening crimes such as rape and manslaughter. There r also events involving huge large crowds which can lead 2 violence and resulting in deaths sooner or later. So travelers whatever u do, please do not get involved in fights or crowds as it can get u in2 serious trouble.

  11. Hey.. please let us always make things clear to ourselves, Nigeria is one of the most peaceful country to visit don’t just judge the country just because of what you see on internet or in international TV Station, i know many of you received message in your inbox from this fraudster to say they where Rubbed or Kidnapped in Nigeria ,please all this are just lie for them to get money from you…and this is all what people see to judge the country , what of country like Israel , United State of America , United Kingdom , India ,

  12. That is not true about Nigeria. News about Nigeria are being blown out of proportion. I have being frequenting Nigeria in past two year as expertriate who work in the Oil Rich Niger-Dalta. Actually the Militant are just after unconcerned and non-Challant Government. I walk and Jog freely in the street of the major cities like Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Warri, Eket, Abuja and Kaduna.
    In the Northern part of Nigeria, yes there is certain level of social unrest which is instigated by some Polically unfavour persons who hide under Boko Haram Islamic sect. Some of the Politcian who motivate this includes fomer Head of state, Rtd. Gen. Ibrahim Babagida, Atiku Abubakar, Muhanmadu Buhari and host of Others.
    The supposed reason for this elit involvement is simply to make Nigeria Ungovernable

    • Hi John, thanks for spreading light on Nigeria. That is something I like about discussions on the Internet, we can let people know what is going on and hear from people that have actually been there recently.

    • Those who say Nigeria is anything close to a safe country must really be delusional or downright oblivious of the country and it’s current state or perhaps have a jaded perception of what constitutes safety. First, there is no such thing as personal safety in Nigeria, armed robberies, kidnappings (ritualistic and non ritualistic), road and auto accidents resulting from dismal infrastructure and random acts of violence are very much commonplace and moreso iin the so called “big cities” like Lagos, Abuja, PH, Kaduna etc. Second the notion of property safety in Nigeria is non existent, houses have been burned from political violence, cars stolen and even pol being robbed at gun point on their own property (armed robbers), just a month ago they unsuccessfully tried to break into the house I’m staying!!!! Environmental safety is unheard of here as well, waste is disposed of by open incineration, there are no proper sewage systems, widespread industrial pollution and let’s not forget the increasingly common on and offshore oil spills. These are documented facts and anyobes that has been to Nigeria even for a few hours will evidence these things. Nigeria is a dangerous country on the personal, property and environmental level. It continues to fail to provide even the tiniest safety guarantees on these fronts and as I have mentioned anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

    • Saad your submission is hundred percent correct and you have just spoken my mind. I am a Nigerian and i think there is need for further findings on this greatest Africa country because there are several foreigners in the country and i believe if they have the chance they will tell you to erase Nigeria from your list.

  13. Why all muslims countries dangerous for the world…what about rest of the countries…what about India,Israel,America and others…

  14. America is the most dangerous country for the world, The biggest terrorist state of the world is America. Who dropped first nuclear bomb? Who attacked on other countries with out any solid reason? Who killed billions of the innocent people without any reason? find the answer and check out who is the real terrorist of the world??????

  15. ive been to the northern part of somalia known as somaliland which is really safe, i probably saw one guna for the month i was there and that was held by police plus the locals are really welcoming to strangers and all this talk about no rain, well i havent been to south somalia but somaliland rained probably 10-15 times while i was there and not just normal rain but close to floods

    • So America is the most dangerous country in the world, so why are so many people around the world are trying to emigrate here and not for example pakistan or yemen.

  16. pakistan is my home town its my place to find peace belive it or not never belive what the news says the city of lahore and punjab provinces is very awsome pakistan has a lot of tourrist attractions like the vally of swat kown by many tourrists as the switzerland of pakistan also it has a history of over 3000 to 5000 years and guys i live in one of the most dangerous cities peshawar and ilove my hometown its a nice place and the phatan people are known for their hospitality also in every region you will exerience something new different tastes etc

    • Dear Alexander Your Are Absloutly right the peshawer is very famous for his hospitality and Attraction of beauty however it is affected by the taliban but now there is totally peace the Army of pakistan and govt of pakistan is control the taliban and now the pakistan is totally peacefull country Thankxx to all

  17. Definitely these are dangerous countries in the world, especially those currently at war. It will be very interesting to visit some of these spots once the wars are over and the countries have calmed down.

  18. I’ve also heard a lot of not-so-good news about the countries being mentioned. But there were also good news being spread about some specific areas that really touched my heart. It seems that few of the countries being mentioned here suffer the same fate with Mindanao Island in the Philippines. News of kidnapping and banditry in Mindanao almost always conquered a large chunk of the media hype. Nevertheless, lawlessness happened only in the southwestern tip of the island. To think that being the 19th largest island of the world, Mindanao has a land area of 94,631 square kilometers and what happened in the south is not representative of the events of the whole island. Take the case of the 12,445- hectare Bucas Grande Island in the northeastern most part of Mindanao. The serenity and tranquility of the place is second to none in the entire province of Surigao del Norte and it is in stark contrast with what’s happening in the far far south of Mindanao.

    • I have been to Colombia and I can defifuinetly say that itΒ΄s very safe to visit and it has incredibly beautiful places to go to such as Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, CaΓ±o Cristales, San Andres y providencia and of course the capital city Bogota. Tourism there is becoming increasingly popular and it has been sited as one of the best destinations in 2006.

  19. There are definitely dangerous countries in the world, especially those currently at war. It will be very interesting to visit some of these spots once the wars are over and the countries have calmed down.

  20. I will be headed to Sudan on August 1st for a micro-financing volunteer project so I can report back on current conditions of the world’s newest nation.

  21. No worries @Ciki won’t mind me being a pedantic pain in the butt πŸ™‚ I always take the opportunity to defend my poor old Middle East and try to argue that it’s a safe destination, though that’s increasingly hard to do these days πŸ™

    Yeah, I’ve read some of Jordan stuff, but I’ve going to have to return and read it all when I have time. I’ll look forward to it. Good luck with all the trip prep, you two!

  22. Great post, Dave and Deb – I’m kicking myself for not going to Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan when we first moved to the UAE in ’98 – and to Libya also for that matter – all were far safer then, and all on my travel wish lists. Got a bit of a wait now.

    This post reminded me of Robert Young Pelton’s World’s Most Dangerous Places book – absolutely loved it. Highly entertaining despite it reminding you constantly that nowhere in the world is really safe. A must read if you haven’t read it yet.

    @Ciki – only 3 in the MidEast, more in Africa πŸ™‚ Don’t let it deter you from a MidEast visit. There are lots of other comparatively safer countries – UAE, Oman, Lebanon, and Jordan, and until recently I would have said Syria too (my favourite country in the region) – although my friends in Syria tell me all is safe there too and they need tourists to return. Hmmm…

    • Hi Lara, thanks for all the information. I have read The World’s Most Dangerous Places and loved it. Now that guy is the real deal. That would have been amazing to go to those places in ’98, Hindsight is always 20/20 eh:) And I completely agree with you, it’s not all of the Middle East, I wish that I would have said that to Ciki as well. By the time I entered that comment I was feeling bummed about mankind and went off on my little tangent. Thanks for listing the safe countries in the Middle East. We were just in Jordan for the first time and it is up there with some of our favourite places on earth and I so want to go to Syria, I have heard nothing but amazing things about it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Fully agree – there are some countries in the Middle East which are extremelly safe. From my experience, top of the list are Iran, UAE, Oman, Syria (true, until recently, but, I hope it will restore back), Jordan, it is also ok in Lebanon (just visited in June), but there were few incidents lately if you go a bit off-the-beaten track. I guess Saudi should be safe (if you get there), Qatar, Kuwait.

      • Thanks for the list Imperator. You sound like you have travelled extensively through the Middle East, lucky you!

  23. Hello Dave and Deb,

    Of your list, I’ve only been to the western part of Russian Caucus (Krasnodar in the map) and that’s very safe, although its at the border of the trouble zone. Sortof like going to the Wagah border between India and Pakistan. My partner however spent 2 months in Pakistan earlier this year. Insane, I know! πŸ˜€


    • Hi Priyank, thanks for letting us know about Russian Caucaus, good to know that it is very safe and not so scary. How did your partner like it in Pakistan, I have heard great things about it for being a tourist and visit. What we have found about most places in the world, most people are kind and helpful no matter where you are.

    • miss i live in pakistan and belive it or not i line in nwfp province now known as khyber pukhtunkawa it shares a border with afghanistan to tell you the truth pakistan is a nice place only in recent times these problems occured thanks to weak governament if you see that muslim countries have problems with the us its probably because sometimes the us interfers in their problems making it worse and sometimes it conducts opretions that are against the policies of the un still pakistan is a ally of the us nd one of its strongest so i would say you should definetly visit akistan it isnt as dangerous as the say well when the sitution becomes a little calm that is

      • i I totally agree alex….act all the problems are created by americans themselves….their fight with taliban ruined Pakistan….and nw they say that pak isnt safe?….they must visit us once for exp…..

      • pakistan is a very peaceful country n its inhabitants r also very peaceful and polite,i TOTALLY N STRONGLY DISAGREE with this FAKE LIST

  24. I went to Yemen on holiday last October, amazing experience; beautiful country. I highly recommed visting it, the people, the food, the sightseeing, the culture, overall a traveler gem. Right now the situation is more unstable due to the Middle East awakening, however it should be on your “to visit” list (once it calms down) if you want to sense a culture that is just stuck in time, totally different to the rest. We stayed 8 days, never felt unsafe or threatened. It has a extremely strong “Anti American” feeling though, like most of the countries in the Middle East. We are Mexican so we were fine…

    • Hi Alex, thanks for sharing. I was looking forward to hearing from people that had visited these places first hand. So many countries are misrepresented in the media. I am happy to hear that the food, the sightseeing, the culture and most importantly, the people are gems. It doesn’t surprise me though, most of the people in the world are very caring and giving. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  25. I went to Yemen on holiday last October, amazing country, beautiful experience.Of course the situation now is more unstable, however I highly recommend visiting when it calms down a little bit, it is a culture stuck in time.One thing that I should say is that, like most of the countries in ME it is anti american. I am Mexican so we were welcome…

  26. I have never traveled to any of these places and probably never will simply because there are too many places higher on my list.

    I think that if we do our research, take the necessary precautions, and are smart, we can go to places that have less of a tourist infrastructure and are not “the safest” places to travel.

    • Thanks for the input Stephanie, You are so right. Research and necessary precautions are definitely the key. It is important for people to asses the risks they are willing to take and decide for themselves.

  27. When I saw you post this to twitter I thought to myself that I bet I could guess them all… and I was close! =) Good thing there are so many other places to visit in this world that are safe!


  28. In principle, the list is correct, but we should identify some areas which are quite crime and problems-free..
    If we look at Afghanistan, the west part, the province of Herat is pretty safe to travel around.
    If we look at Somalia, there are actually 3 countries which exista there (with own governments, administration, etc): Somalia itself (East part, with Mogadishu and all the known problems), Puntland (the Republic of the Pirates, where most of the pirates operate from – exactly in the Horn) and Somaliland (North – West, near Ethiopian and Djibouti border), a really safe and travel-open area (government obliges giving you a useless armed guard if you visit Somaliland)
    Iraq – the Republic of Kurdistan situated in North is pretty safe to travel, except the border with Turkey.

    • Hi Imperator, Thanks so much for the information. This is the type of conversation we definitely wanted to get started. Countries are large and just because one place is unsafe in it doesn’t mean that the entire country is off limits. Well, said.

  29. Have the people at Quickbeds in Australia actually visited any of these countries?

    I’ve been (alone, with a bicycle) to Yemen, Sudan and the Russian Caucasus, and they were all lovely. The part of Sudan I travelled across, in fact, must have been the gentlest place on earth. And I’m making plans to visit several more on this list.

    How sad to live in such misguided fear…

    • Tom, thanks so much for the input. We totally agree, Sudan was filled with the most gentle, kind and giving people we have met. We never felt threatened once. Now, we never went to the Darfur region, but the rest of it was wonderful. After reading the comments in this section, I want to visit Yemen now! Thanks for sharing and this is exactly what I love about blogging. We can hear instantly from people who have been there first hand to let us know what their experience was.

  30. so many in the middle east! I have to agree with this list.. we live in troubled times, and things might probably get worse..

    • Hi Ciki, It is a shame that there is so much unrest in the middle east. It is the spiritual centre of the world, it is an ancient civilization and it is beautiful and the people are wonderful, it is a shame that the unrest is happening here and I hope that you are wrong that things will probably get worse. I am hoping that man kind will wake up one day and say “why are we fighting with each other and trying to control one another?” Can’t we all live in peace and harmony? It sound so naiive to say, but it is how I feel. We should be able to live in balance and harmony.

      • ” It is a shame that there is so much unrest in the middle east. It is the spiritual centre of the world”. This is why there is unrest. Too much religion and too many non-secular governments.

    • pakistan is not a Dangerous country this is your sense of thinking that is dangerous for Muslim in all over the world and correct your Bloody Information Okay

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