The most dangerous countries to visit in 2020: how does SA compare?

21 November 2019 - 00:00 By AFP Relaxnews
The Triumphal Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Tripoli, Libya. This country is one of the most dangerous destinations to visit according to International SOS.
The Triumphal Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Tripoli, Libya. This country is one of the most dangerous destinations to visit according to International SOS.
Image: 123RF/Norman Krauss

Plotting out your travel plans for 2020? Before booking your flight, you may want to consult an interactive map developed by a global risk firm which has identified the most dangerous travel destinations around the world.

In their Travel Risk Map, medical and security experts at International SOS have identified the riskiest countries for travellers in the coming year across categories like medical safety, security and road safety, colour-coding countries by level of risk. 

Countries like Libya, Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen are among some of the countries that have been categorised under "Extreme Travel Security Risk," where government control and law and order may be minimal or non-existent across large areas. 

"Serious threat of violent attacks by armed groups targeting travellers and international assignees. Government and transport services are barely functional. Large parts of the country are inaccessible to foreigners." 

According to the map, the safest travel destinations where travel security risks are "insignificant" are Norway, Finland, Denmark, Greenland, Slovenia and Switzerland. 

HIGH TRAVEL MEDICAL RISKS

It's not just political unrest, terrorism and petty crime that travellers should consider when choosing their destinations.  

Some countries pose higher medical risks than others, be it limited or virtually non-existent healthcare, dental services or primary care; the prevalence of food and waterborne-infections; or hotspots for outbreaks of life-threatening infectious diseases like malaria or cholera. 

Countries that carry "very high travel medical risks" include many of the same countries deemed most dangerous for security, including Libya, Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Other medically unsafe countries include Niger, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Venezuela. 

Predictably, Western and developed countries pose the least medical risk.

HOW DOES SA COMPARE?

South Africa is considered a low medical risk country - the only African country to be classed as such. However, like much of the rest of the continent, SA is a very high risk country when it comes to road safety.

Overall, Mzansi falls into the "medium travel risk" category. According to International SOS, countries in this category are described as being those where industrial action can disrupt travel, there may periodically be political unrest and violent protests and travellers may face risk from racial violence and violent crime.

 Additional reporting by staff reporter.


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