What is the most dangerous place you have been to? A wild river? Maybe a tropical rainforest full of dangerous animals? In fact, there are many places on our planet that are extremely dangerous to be around, for numerous reasons. From deadly hurricane-prone locations and war-torn countries to cities with extremely high crime rates and areas with lethal levels of radioactivity, make sure to avoid these 25 Most Dangerous Places On Earth.
Sahel, North Africa
The Sahel is a region bordering the Sahara Desert in Africa. Human exploitation of the area’s limited water has caused massive desertification and greatly increased the risk of drought and famine. During just 12 years, between 1972 and 1984, more than 100,000 people died in this area because of drought.
Snake Island, Brazil
Officially known as Ilha de Queimada Grande, the Island of Snakes is located off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Notorious for an extremely high occurrence of snakes, the island is the only place on Earth where the feared Golden Lancehead Viper lives. The snake’s venom is so powerful that it actually melts human flesh. No wonder the Brazilian government banned visitors here.
Danakil Desert, East Africa
Located in northeast Ethiopia, southern Eritrea, and northwestern Djibouti, the Danakil Desert is known as one of the most hostile and dangerous places in the world. The area is known for volcanoes and geysers that spit toxic gases and extreme heat, with daytime temperatures surpassing 50 °C (122 °F). Moreover, conflicts in Eritrea increase the risk of getting kidnapped.
Located deep in the heart of Siberia, thousands of miles east of Moscow, the Russian village of Oymyakon has the lowest recorded temperature for any permanently inhabited location: -71.2 °C (-96.2 °F). One of the coldest places in the world, the village is home to about 500 people. Mobile phones usually don’t work in the freezing weather, and no crops can be grown here.
Due to ongoing violent conflicts, Syria has been consistently ranked among the world’s deadliest countries over the past years. The inhabitants of this war-torn country have experienced bombardment of residential areas, food and medical care deprivation, lengthy sieges, and reportedly even chemical weapons attacks.
Some of Brazil’s metropolises such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are known to have a very high crime rate. However, it is in fact the tiny and way less-known coastal state of Alagoas that has by far the highest murder rate in the country…possibly even in the world. Every year, more than 2,000 people are killed in this state with just about 3 million inhabitants.
The capital of the West African country of Liberia, Monrovia is home to one of Africa’s worst slums, the West Point. Crowded with 75,000 people, the slum is plagued with cholera epidemics, drug use, crime, teenage prostitution, and a lack of sanitary facilities. The city is also very polluted and struggles with serious environmental problems such as floods.
Mount Sinabung, Indonesia
Mount Sinabung is an active stratovolcano situated on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Eruptions occur here very frequently, often leaving thousands of people without shelter or livelihood. Many nearby towns and villages have been completely covered in lava and ash several times, most recently in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Sadly, dozens of people have already been killed in the eruptions.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Located along the Atlantic coast of Namibia, the Skeleton Coast has a reputation of being one of the most inhospitable and deadliest natural places on Earth. This extreme piece of land got its name from whale and seal skeletons scattered all over the area; many people (mainly shipwrecked sailors) have died here too due to the local harsh environment.
Regarded as a totalitarian dictatorship, North Korea is widely accused of having one of the worst human rights records in the world. Both locals as well as visitors can be arrested for things that people living in democratic countries find normal. Due to the worsening relations between North Korea and the US, this Asian country is particularly dangerous for American tourists who might be detained here.
Guatemala is well-known for a high crime rate, but this is not the only reason this Central American country made it to our list. Its location and topography makes Guatemala prone to at least three types of devastating natural disasters: earthquakes, hurricanes, and mudslides. In 1976, for example, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake killed 23,000 people here.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
Located at the base of a mountain in Tanzania’s Gregory Rift, Lake Natron is undoubtedly one of the deadliest bodies of water in the world. The water is over-saturated with salt, can reach temperatures of up to 60 °C (140 °F), and has a pH between 9 and 10.5—so corrosive that it can calcify dead bodies, strip ink off printed materials, and burn the skin and eyes of unadapted animals and humans.
The capital of Yemen, Sanna is famous for many things, such as being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Or for being one of the highest capital cities in the world with an elevation of 2,300 m (7,500 ft). Unfortunately, Sanna is also one of the most dangerous places on Earth due to the constant bombings, assassinations, and random acts of terrorism.
One of the largest Italian cities, Naples is famous for stunning architecture and delicious cuisine; unfortunately, the city is also referred to as one of the world’s largest deathtraps. The reason is simple – the whole city sits on the gigantic supervolcano Campi Flegrei. Scientists have found that any eruption of the volcano could kill millions of people living in the area.
Mailu Suu, Kyrgyzstan
Home to about 23,000 people, Mailu Suu is a uranium mining town in Southern Kyrgyzstan. A site where 10,000 tons of uranium was processed for Soviet nuclear programs, the town is one of the most radioactive places in the world. Landslides, earthquakes, and flood are common in this region, which only increases the risk of radioactive contamination here.
Home to 2 million people, Manaus doesn’t have as high a crime rate as some other Brazilian metropolises, but there is another reason why this city is on the list. Located right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, Manaus lies on the bank of the Amazon River, which is home to a number of dangerous creatures. A swim or paddle in the river means you are sharing the water with piranhas, anacondas, electric eels, and other deadly animals.
Bermuda Triangle, North Atlantic
One of the most feared areas in the world, the Bermuda Triangle is a vaguely defined expanse of the Atlantic Ocean triangulated between Puerto Rico, Florida and Bermuda. For decades, the area has been associated with a number of allegedly mysterious disappearances that have been credited to everything from magnetic force to aliens. While most of these cases have been explained rationally, some of them remain unexplained.
A ghost town found in Northern Ethiopia, Dallol is one of the most remote, lowest, and hottest places on Earth. With an average annual temperature of 34.6 °C (94.3 °F), the town was once the hottest inhabited location in the world. Underground water is extremely salty and acidic; there are also geysers that spout toxic gases.
North Sentinel Island, India
The North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands that politically belong to India. The island is known for picturesque pristine beaches and stunning nature…but the natives are extremely hostile and violent toward any outsiders. They reject any contact with other people and have been even known to kill several intruders.
Lake Nyos, Cameroon
Situated in Northwestern Cameroon, Lake Nyos sits on area of volcanic activity where carbon dioxide leaks from beneath the ground. During a “limnic eruption,” the carbon dioxide bursts out from the bottom of the lake to form a deadly cloud. Because the gas is heavier than air, it descends, pushing oxygen away and suffocating any life in the area. Two eruptions in the 1980’s killed over 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in the area.
The third largest country in the Caribbean (behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic), Haiti is one of the most hurricane-prone countries in the world. Not only does it lie in a hurricane highway, but the poverty-stricken country lacks resilience. Settlements are built on floodplains, natural defenses like forests have been degraded, and the economy is not stable enough to fund flood defenses or warning systems. Consequently, hurricanes are usually deadly in this country.
Burkina Faso is a small, landlocked country in West Africa. What makes this place dangerous is the high threat of terrorism and kidnap attacks. Many attacks have been mounted on hotels, cafes, restaurants, and other places where people tend to gather. Some of the attacks were even conducted by terrorist groups from neighboring countries such as Mali and Niger.
Death Valley, California
Located near the border of California and Nevada in the Great Basin, Death Valley got its terrifying name for a reason. The area is extremely hot in summer (reaching temperatures of up to 56.7 °C (134 °F)). Surprisingly, it can also be dangerously cold during the winter months if visitors are not prepared. Moreover, storms in the surrounding mountains can produce sudden flooding on the floor of the valley.
In March 2011, the Fukushima Prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshu became the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history. A power plant exploded here, following a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Even today, six years after the incident, very high levels of radiation are recorded in the area, making it one of the most dangerous places in the world.
Fraser Island, Australia
Despite numerous beautiful beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters, Fraser Island is an extremely dangerous place to be around. The deserted beaches are home to deadly spiders and aggressive wild dingo dogs, while the sea is infested with sharks and venomous jellyfish.
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Photos: 25. Oxfam East Africa, 2011 Horn of Africa famine Oxfam 01, CC BY 2.0, 24. Benny_Trapp_Rhinechis_scalaris_Portugal.jpg: Benny Trapp derivative work: Papa Lima Whiskey 2, Rhinechis scalaris cropped, CC BY 3.0, 23. pixabay (public domain), 22. Maarten Takens, Oymyakon forests, CC BY-SA 2.0, 21. wikimedia commons (public domain), 20. Teotonio Vilela, Centro de Maceió, CC BY 2.0, 19. Matt-80, Soweto township, CC BY 2.0, 18. Kenrick95, Sinabung-Gundaling-20100913, CC BY-SA 3.0, 17. MarkDhawn, Shipwreck-skeleton-coast, CC BY-SA 3.0, 16. J.A. de Roo, The statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (april 2012), CC BY-SA 3.0, 15. Clmendizabal, Terremoto 2012 en San Marcos, Guatemala. 13, CC BY-SA 3.0, 14. Clem23, NatronSouthSide, CC BY-SA 3.0, 13. Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia, Sana’a, Yemen (14667934933), CC BY-SA 2.0, 12. Max Pixel (public domain), 11. IAEA via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 10. James Martins, Amazonia fotos aérea região de Manaus 2005 AM Brasil – panoramio (8), CC BY 3.0, 9. wikimedia commons (public domain), 8. Ji-Elle, Dallol-Ethiopie (49), CC BY-SA 3.0, 7. Harvinder Chandigarh, Landscape of havelock Island, Andaman Islands, India, CC BY-SA 4.0, 6-4. wikimedia commons (public domain), 3. Wolfgangbeyer at the German language Wikipedia, Death Valley Zabriskie Point, CC BY-SA 3.0, 2-1. wikimedia commons (public domain)