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The 25 Least Visited Countries In The World….African Countries Dominate List

Are you up for going on that unique trip that almost no one has done before you? The problem might just be finding the right destination. The least visited country in the world may not be the one you would think.

The 25 least visited countries of the world follow below. The most visited of those has 73,000 foreign tourists in a year, the least visited less than 200. That is way behind number one, France, with 79.5 million annual foreign visitors:

25. Dominica: 73,000 tourists (2011, UNWTO)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
The island nation is rather small without too many tourist facilities. The only commercial airport cannot handle big aircraft, so the nation is served by propellor planes only.

The jungle provides refuge for a great number of birds and animals. And the rural feel of the island nation makes it feel anything but touristy, exactly what you may be looking for.

What else
Do not confuse Dominica with Dominican Republic. Both countries are in the Carribean, but they are very different. Buy coconuts from salesmen by the road and eliminate your thirst. Just know how to haggle or you will be ripped off.

24. Chad: 71,000 tourists (2010, UNWTO)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
There’s political instability and unrest in this landlocked and dry country. Rebels make large parts of the country less than safe.

You find the biggest rocks in the world in Chad, although you should hire armed guards in 4WD vehicles to go there due to robbers that sometimes go violent. It’s amazing for climbing! The capital N’Djamena is a big market town with some impressive governmental buildings.

What else
Mastercard is not accepted in Chad, so bring cash or a Visa card.

23. Central African Republic: 54,000 tourists (2010, UNWTO)

Why so few?

The landlocked country isn’t really famous for much. It is one of the poorest in Africa.

Why you may still want to visit
Do go by boat on one of the many rivers in the countries. And relax in semi-modern Bangui where you’ll find French cuisine and a bakery.

What else
Do not take photos of locals unless they give you permission to do so. Or risk facing a threatening mob.

22. Liechtenstein: 53,000 tourists (2011, UNWTO)

Why so few?
There’s no airport in the landlocked neighbour of Switzerland and Austria. There’s a heliport though, so if you are among those with a bank account here you may still come and leave airborne. Most visitors are presumably on business thanks to the secretive bank system and the low corporate taxes.

Why you may still want to visit
Amazing mountains that are great for skiing and hiking. Do not miss Balzers Castle if you’re into stacked rocks.

What else
Don’t stay too long here, or you may go bored. The country is tiny.

21. Djibouti: 53,000 tourists (2008, UN)

Why so few?
A dry and dirty place. There’s rubbish all over the small desert country that is no one’s typical destination.

Why you may still want to visit
The scuba diving is amazing, although not very affordable. There are plenty of French soldiers around if that may appeal to you. That also means a lively nightlife scene every weekend. The lowest point in Africa is also in the country. Lake Assal is 157 meters below sea level.

What else
There are some mean looking helicopters on the airport which doubles as a military airfield. You may be able to witness some action there.

20. Sierra Leone: 52,000 tourists (2011, UN)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
Have you heard anything good about this country recently?

You will discover some of the most amazing beaches in Africa and great hospitality. You can find pretty much anything at the markets in Freetown.

What else
Getting to and from the airport is a pain. You will have to go by one of three boat options taking 30-60 minutes to Freetown or splash out on a chartered helicopter that may or may not be operational. One of the options involve travelling 12 kilometers by taxi to the car ferry port. I went for a two wheeled version.

My impression from ‘land of the mountain lions.’

19. Tonga 45,000 tourists (2011, UNWTO)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
It is located in the middle of the Pacific.

The main island is a coral surrounded by coral reefs. The diving and snorkeling is great! And there’s even a choice of airline to get here, which is unusal for island states in Oceania. Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Air Pacific can all take you here, making access relatively easy.

What else
It’s one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. And the Tongan feasts are famous. Indulge!

Why you best explore Tonga by scooter (March, 2013).

18. East Timor: 40,000 tourists (2010, UN)

Why so few?
The UN is still very much present here, and UN aircraft largely outnumber commercial ones. The country may still not feel safe for a lot of people.

Why you may still want to visit
Fantastic scenery which is great for hiking and treking. And do not forget the scuba diving gear at home. The conditions are world class. You will also find old Portugese buildings scattered around the country and going to small villages as a foreign tourist will guaranteed make people turn heads and most likely produce smiles.

What else
Getting a visa is easy for most nationals. You get it in exchange for 30USD upon arrival at the airport in Dili.

17. Bhutan: 37,000 tourists (2011, UNWTO)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
You have to go through a process to get a visa and travel permits to the country. And you will be required to have a guide with you while exploring the country.

The mountains are stunning, so are the hiking possibilities. It is also very much a Buddhist country, something that is easily recognized by temples and monsatries, many of which are worth the visit on their own. And do not forget Tiger’s Nest. The monastry build on a small ledge of a mountain. It will take you an hour or two to hike up there, but it is so worth it.

What else
You will see penises painted on many buildings around the country. They are signs of good luck, but will make some westerners go totally shy and ackward. And do watch the archery competitions. The locals know how to handle their bows.

16. North Korea: 35,000 tourists (2011, Koryo Group)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
Do I really need to answer this?

A visit to North Korea will make you redefine your definition of a country. The Truman Show, country scale, someone said. It is one of the safest countries to visit as a tourist. Crime is virually non-existent. Just ignore that everyone will think you are mad for going. It’s so worth a visit.

What else
You will always be minded by two minders. Their job is to mind you and each other. Sometimes they will still need to use the facilities, so if you are lucky you may get to exchange some extra information. Do note that you will be on the receiving side of a lot of brainwashing, or should I say propaganda. North Korea is more visited than most people think, primarily because of Chinese tourists. Non-Asian visitors are rare, and I am always asked about North Korea. I am typically introduced as “the youngest hobby traveller to have visited all countries.” A typical response is still; “Have you been to North Korea?” I guess the word “all” is not properly taught in school.

A piece written for Terminal U on North Korea.

 

15. Libya: 34,000 tourists (2008, UN)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
Colonel Gadaffi didn’t exactly work as a tourist magnet. He is now dead, but the unrest that has followed doesn’t invite tourists either.

Some people like sand.

What else
Libyans make great coffee! I also experienced them to be very friendly to foreigners, you may very well be invited to someone’s home for a meal. Not to be forgotten are the breathtaking ruins of Leptis Magna, an ancient city of the Roman empire only 130 kilometers from Tripoli. There is a lot to see there, although some of it is not yet excavated.

14. Guinea-Bissau: 30,000 tourists (2011, UN)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
It is a country with relatively poor infrastructure. It is not well connected by Western airlines.

The Bijagos Islands outside Bissau is an archipelago of some twenty islands, where you may see hippos. They are pristine. Do not expect any sign of modern life. Electricity is for chickens.

What else
The fish market is Bissau will so make you wanna prepare your own food. Just try to find a kitchen. And you will enjoy the Portugese style architecture. If you’re into such.

13. Mauritania: 29,000 tourists (2008, E Turbo News)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
Reputation has it that Mauritania is only sand and nomads. There are no famous sights there.

The graveyeard for ships on the northern coast is amazing and will sort you out with bizarre photo opportunities! You do not want to miss out on typical desert towns and villages.

What else
Credit cards won’t work. Bring cash. You can also hitch a ride with one of the world’s longest trains with over 200 cars. It transports iron ore, but passangers can usually just jump on top of the cargo. Heavy, heavy fuel!

12. Federated States of Micronesia: 26,000 tourists (2008, UN)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
It’s far off and not very well known. United is the only airline that can take you here.

If you like wreck diving, this is heaven thanks to fierce battles during world war II. The country is relatively poor, but also very welcoming. Great seafood!

What else
US dollars is used as the currency, so you can leave your calculator at home. You can also visit Wall Mart in Colonia. it’s a supermarket slightly less famous than it’s American “competitor.”

 

11. Solomon Islands: 23,000 tourists (2010, UNWTO)

Why so few?
Getting to and from the island nation in the Pacific is not the easiest or cheapest of tasks thanks to lack of competition. It is also a lot less famous than other neighbouring countries.

Why you may still want to visit
Scuba diving, sailing and fishing.

What else
Do not miss out on the fish market in Honiara. The yatch club there is great for a drink. Or a ride if you don’t agree with planes.

10. Afghanistan: 17,500 tourists (2012, New York Times)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
There’s a war. Taliban is in it.

The mountains of Afghanistan are wild and beautiful. They are also hiding places for bandits and terrorists, so you may want to wait until it becomes a little more peaceful.

What else
You’ll have a unique chance to try on a traditional blue burqa. I did for two minutes. Poor women! Do also remember to get your visa to the country you will return to in advance. Getting it inside Afghanistan may not be the easiest of tasks. Saying that you are in the country as a tourist will make you appear a liar, so do have a cover story  or be prepared to be declared less than smart.

9. Comoros: 15,000 tourists (2010, UNWTO)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
The guidebooks say that the islands are infected by malaria carrying mosquitos. I didn’t see any mosquitos. Hotels do anyhow have bed nets, you’ll be fine. There are not a lot of airlines flying to Comoros either.

Great seafood, friendly people, vibrating markets and a beautiful coastline. And very friendly people.

What else
Try on a beauty mask. A lot of the women there wear them. The masks do certainly not work as the name suggests while being worn. Public transport doesn’t really exist, so be prepared to raise your thumb. Private cars or minibuses will usually pick you up relatively soon.

8. Sao Tome & Principe: 8,000 tourists (2010, UNWTO)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
It may take a while to get there.

It’s so remote you are more or less guaranteed proper peace. And there are both stunning beaches and mountains that invite for hikes and photo oportunities. Do try the street food.

What else
Bring cash and do get your return ticket sorted before you visit. You can easily walk to the airport from Sao Tome.

7. Turkmenistan: 7,000 tourists (2007, UN)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
The country is reputed to be the second craziest in the world. After, of course, North Korea.

Crazy is fun! And all the police officers make you feel very safe.

What else
Do visit “The Door to Hell” which is the nickname of the burning crater in Darvaza, litterally in the middle of Karakum desert. It is fantastic and well worth the 3-4 hours long drive. Just stock up on food and vodka before you go, because you will want to stay in a tent overnight near the flames. They make a comforting sound.

6. Equatorial Guinea: 6,000 tourists (2012, estimate based on World Bank figures)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
You will need a visa to get in unless you are American. Getting a tourist visa is bureaucracy hell.

Have you even heard about Equatorial Guinea? It is the only Spanish speaking country in Africa and having been there gives you bragging rights.

What else
Do not openly take photographs of anything offical looking unless you fancy a serious discussion with police or people pretending to be police. This especially applies to the presidential palace.

5. Marshall Islands: 5,000 tourists (2011, UNWTO)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
Try to get there. United has a monopoly on flights and does know how to price the tickets accordingly.

The diving at the outer atolls is world-class!

What else
Do not expect to find cheap accommodation. There is virtually no crime there though, so you might as well sleep on the beach for free.

4. Kiribati: 4,700 tourists (2011, UN)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
Most people haven’t even heard about Kiribati. It is not very well covered by airlines.

Check out the maps and satellite photos of the islands. It’s all about beach, snorkeling, diving, fishing and water sports. If you do not like any of the above, please leave the rest of us alone and go to Turkmenistan where you’ll find the sand without the water.

What else
The 33 atolls of the country are so widespread that it takes 6 hours to fly from the easternmost one to the westernmost one. By a jet plane. The accumulated area of Kiribati is still only 811 square kilometers, slightly bigger than New York City (786 square kilometers).

I visited Kiribati as the second last country of the world’s 198 in April, 2013. Cape Verde was last a month later.

3. Tuvalu: 1,200 tourists (2011, UN)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
The same applies to Tuvalu as to Kiribati. The nations are not connected by plane routes, although you can easily go from one to another by your own sail boat. Or you have to fly via Fiji. Only Air Pacific flies to Tuvalu and Kiribati.

If sea levels do continue to rise Tuvalu is the first country to disappear, so you may be in a hurry all of a sudden. Go before you will need a submarine to do so. The government is currently looking into options that include buying land elsewhere to move their people.

What else
There really isn’t much to see. The nation is so flat, that you shouldn’t expect anything but a stereotypical Pacific island nation with palm trees and beaches.

I recently visited Tuvalu to see what the first country to ‘sink’ really is like. (March, 2013)

2. Somalia: 500 tourists (2012, estimate based on news articles)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
War, lack of a government for many years, violent muslim extremists, sharia law. The reputation of Somalia is extremelly close to rock bottom.

The government has started to function again. Mogadishu is now relatively safe and businesses are thriving. Turkish Airlines has even opened a direct twice weekly route from Istanbul.

What else
Go to the beach just outside Mogadishu or visit the Bakaara market where you can even buy your own semi-genuine Somalian passport. You may not want to use it anywhere, though. Your travel experience doesn’t extend beyond the Bahamas, Paris or Gran Canaria, you say? First of all; Why are you reading this blog post? Secondly, do not go to Somalia!

1. Nauru: 200 tourists (2011, Crikey)


Why you may still want to visit
Why so few?
Nauru is a tiny island nation in the Pacific. The smallest republic in the world covers only 21 square kilometers. There is almost nothing to see there as most of the island (there’s only one) is a large open phosphate mine. Only one airline serves the island. You also need a visa to be allowed in, and the country doesn’t have many embassies abroad.

The beaches surrounding the island are beautiful and “proper” Pacific style. The coral reefs surrounding Nauru makes it great for diving or fishing. There are however only 10,000 people in the country, huge unemployment and virtually no nightlife. There are two hotels, one “posh” on the beach and one “in town.”

What else
This is the only country in the world without a capital. Yaren is the biggest community, and therefore acts as the de facto capital. There’s even an internet cafe next to the police station, so you can update your statuses. The problem is that hardly anyone even heard about the place, so you are unlikely to get any praisal. Expect “Nauru? Is that upstate?” responses. Why not run around a country?

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