There are plenty of places that we Anglophones should not go, especially if we're used to comforts and, say, a bed, bottled water, a corkscrew. I'm sure we've all landed in some country or other only to wish that we had just turned around and gone home. The world is full of places that we just should not go—definitely not now and perhaps not later. Rather than see places before you die, I propose it's best to leave certain countries before you fry—or, at least, visit quickly then get out! No continent houses more countries to leave than Africa, for it was Elspeth Huxley who said, "Africa is a cruel country; it takes your heart and grinds it into a powdered stone—and no one minds."

3. DRC

If there's ever a place in Africa that you should not go, unless you like photographing warring guerilla groups (not the ape ones either), it's the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In fact, any time you see a country that proclaims its "democracy" in its name, it's best to stay away until the name changes to one word (or RC for short). Plus, if a group of guys called the Democratic Forces For the Liberation of Whatever wants to give you a hooded tour of their country, it's best to feign a tummy ache. Again, don't trust the "D" word in Africa, ever! The DRC, however, is an amazing country, full of flora, fauna and all that endemic hoopla foreigners go crazy over. "That Silverback just threw a stick at me. How cute!" Camera: <Snap, Snap, Snap>. The DRC is without question one of the places to see and leave - quickly.


Any country in Africa that has three of the five letters of Satan's name should also be avoided. If your home country posts jobs on government pages that read, "Earn six figures with the embassy now" be sure to calculate your life's worth, or take out a sweet life insurance policy (pays triple upon death if on business, or so I've heard). Sudan is one of those countries in trouble up to its receding hairline. Believe it or not, the anti-American/European rhetoric chanted here would even make your virgin ears ring. It's not uncommon to be captured, taken to some cold concrete slab and made an example of. Even if you've got government tax-money-paid-for Land Rover, chances are it can't out-chase bullets or militia groups. Even if you're there to save the world, it's best to get out - quickly.


Nigeria rhymes with Giardia and that's one little problem that's hard to curb in Africa; it just burns so bad, too. Aside from this unfortunate similarity, Nigeria is just hard to travel in and around for foreigners and locals alike. Take that as a clue: When even the locals are having trouble with militia and government groups, it's best to just steer clear for a few years. Nigeria is a hodgepodge of all levels of violence, from communal, governmental and familial battles taking lives almost daily—more so nightly. Don't pull a Pelton and come here thinking you'll get the inside scoop to a story or some neat photos to sell to National Geographic. The photo caption might read, "Niger Delta area; Photographer swaying from a tree." Nigeria is a place to leave before you hangerr fry, this much is certain.