DESTINATIONS

Top 10 Least Visited Countries

11. Turkmenistan: 8,697 visitors

How would you like to visit one of a fascinating country in Central Asia?  After being closed to the outside world, it is now open! The Karakum Desert, one of the world’s driest deserts, covers 80% of this country and the traditional way of life if represented by the Turkmen, who live as nomadic shepherds.

The tourist economy has been growing rapidly in recent years. But what has been driving this? Why do visitors come to this desert kingdom? Well, in keeping with the culture, you would expect traditional activities like Horse trekking, camel trekking in the wilderness, and journeying through the nature reserve. But there is more!

There are ancient cities from the days of old when Turkmenistan was on the Silk Road that led the ancient traders to China. The historical sites of Daşoguz, which is the main gateway to the UNESCO world Heritage Site of Konye-Urgench, Nisa, and Merv, great cities of the old Islamic world which still hold their mystery and intrigue in the twenty-first century.

For those not inclined to the great works of architecture, there are some of the most interesting sights in the country at the Darvaza gas craters, and the capital city Ashgabat. Then there is perhaps the primary driver of tourism, the creation of the Avaza Tourist Zone on the Caspian Sea.

You will need a visa to enter Turkmenistan and a trip to Ashgabat Airport on Turkmenistan Airlines who operate from the main cities around Europe and Asia.

Big Almaty Lake panorama, Tien Shan Mountains in Almaty, Kazakhs

10. Guinea-Bissau: 7,500 visitors

Very few airlines fly here, very few travelers venture here. But, travelers who do chance the journey prepare yourselves to be overawed by breath-taking panoramas and the rugged splendor of the nation. If you can see past the obvious problems of one of the poorest countries in Africa, you will be rewarded by some of the most remarkable landscapes in Africa.

The country is a low-lying coastal region of swamps, rain forests, and mangrove-covered wetlands, with about 25 islands off the coast. Guinea-Bissau has a consistent year-round temperature of 25C – 26C. The rainy season lasts from May to September.

Here are some of the main centers:-

  • Bissau, the capital, has historical Portuguese colonial architecture.
  • The Bijagós islands where over 80 mainly unpopulated islets filled with swaying palms and white sandy beaches are a tourists’ delight. Here the hippos bathe and turtles nest. But, mysteriously, the archipelago has been best known as a smugglers’ paradise!
  • Varela can be reached by rough tracks, has beautiful beaches, pine forests and a lay back atmosphere. It is a true adventurer’s paradise You can see wild elephants and go on long hikes
  • Boé Sector – The country’s most South-Eastern corner is a patchwork of forest, grasslands, and farmland, with more rough tracks than roads, long secluded hikes to waterfalls, and wild elephant sightings.

Guineans are warm and friendly by nature, and so you will always be invited into any group to share a meal. 

9. Niue: 7,000 visitors

This tiny, rocky island nation with 1000 inhabitants, is situated in the middle of the South Pacific. Niue may be one of the world’s smallest countries but is one of the largest coral atoll islands. Surrounded by protective coral reefs and limestone cliffs, this sunny tropical island has beautiful beaches and free wifi! Niue is ideal for Internet addicts and divers.

There are fossilized coral forests, chasms, and caves and naturally formed arches to please those on the hiking trails that wind their way through this areas.

Air New Zealand operates two flights a week from Aukland to Niue International Airport.

8. Libya: 6,250 visitors

Libya is in the top twenty largest countries in the world but in the Top 10 least visited nations. The country is covered predominantly by the Libyan Desert, with its northern towns on the Mediterranean Sea. And the nation has been devastated by civil war.

To those brave wayfarers daring to face the economic, environmental, and political uncertainties will be rewarded with an astounding historical heritage.

  • Leptis Magna, still standing in all its fading glory, a major city of the Roman Empire located just outside Tripoli. And even today holds some of the best preserved Roman Ruins anywhere to be found.
  • Cyrene, founded by the Greeks in 630 BC, and still an archeological site near the Libyan city of Shahhat.

7. Kiribati: 6,000 visitors

Kiribati will be the first country to lose all its land territory to global warming and has asked New Zealand and Australia to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees. This isolated nation is made up of islands dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometers and has 21 inhabited islands.

Kiribati consists of 33 atolls and one lonely island (Banaba), is the only country that spans all four hemispheres

You can get there from Nauru or Marshall Islands, on flights that depart every two weeks, or from Fiji which has two departures each week to South Tawara, the capital of Kiribati.

Kiribati has a unique culture, and the locals are extremely friendly and welcoming and offer interesting cultural practices in which tourists can observe and participate. One of the most iconic aspects of the culture is the Kiribati dance, characterized by hands held in the air, small movements, and sharp birdlike movements of the head. The Kiribati flag even features a Frigate bird, with the birdlike dancing.

6. Equatorial Guinea: 5,700 visitors

If it is beautiful white sand beaches, too numerous to number; outstanding volcanic views, and unspoiled jungle, then Equatorial Guinea is the place for you. Not to mention rain forests that are home to many endangered primates, and beaches that host nesting sea turtles.

There are some direct connections from Europe and West Africa to Malabo International Airport.

African fish eagle in flight. Uganda

5. South Sudan: 5,500 visitors

Civil wars have been raging in South Sudan for over 40 years. Despite the chaotic political situation and the uncertain environment, Sudanese hospitality is unparalleled, and those intrepid travelers who venture into this war-ravaged country often report that they have such wonderful experiences meeting the South Sudanese people. South Sudan’s delectable cuisine includes influences from Turkey, Egypt, and Ethiopia. South Sudan has a rich and ancient cultural history, and many interesting historical sites are being protected.

The Bandingilo National Park is a protected are in South Sudan and hosts the second-largest wildlife migration in the world. There are also habitats for large populations of hartebeest, buffalo, elephants, lions, and giraffes.

Juba International Airport has links with Entebbe, Nairobi, Cairo, Addis Ababa, and Khartoum.

4. Marshall Islands: 4,600 visitors

Like Kiribati, the Marshall Islands may disappear in our lifetime due to climate change and melting ice caps. The Marshall Islands were also the site of the largest nuclear weapons test in history (code-named Castle Bravo in 1954), with the radioactive fallout continuing to affect the nation today. So if you are into ‘extreme’ traveling, the Marshall Islands awaits you.

On the upside, you can spend US dollars here as it is the national currency. And the Islands have established the world’s largest shark sanctuary.

Many of the inhabitants are master fisherman and navigators as their livelihoods depend on the sea and getting around the one thousand islands that make up this nation.

3. Tuvalu: 1,000 visitors

If you want the ultimate snorkeling vacation, then Tuvalu is for you. There are coral reefs, lagoons and small islands where you can spend days exploring. Once you are done with the water, another treat awaits you on dry land – the unique Polynesian culture with its beautiful people, arts and crafts, music and dance; and excellent stories.

You will need to work hard to get here. This country is so remote that it is almost inaccessible. There is the occasional cargo-cum-passenger ship that plies its trade between Fiji and Tuvalu. And a slightly quicker option on Fiji Airways with its twice weekly propeller plane.

2. Somalia: 400 visitors

If you can forget the travel warnings, and the armed conflict in Somalia you would get a handsome return on a visit to Somalia.

The country has the longest coastline of any country in Africa with numerous sandy beaches. The Somali Beach near Mogadishu is particularly lovely.

This country is famous for its:-

  • Waterfalls (the Iskushuban and Lamadaya).
  • National parks (Hargeisa, Jilib, Kismayo and Lag Badana).
  • Golis and Ogo mountain ranges.
  • Neolithic rock art at the Laas Geel Caves.

If wildlife is your thing, you will not be disappointed. Lions, spotted hyenas, onyx, ostrich, leopards, and cheetahs are all here along with many other species.

1. Nauru: 160 visitors

Here’s a country with 10,000 inhabitants living on 21 square kilometres in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Only the Vatican and Monaco are smaller states than Nauru. One airline serves the country and hotels and restaurants are few.

The Australian government has controversially used Nauru in recent years as a dumping ground for refugees arriving in Australia by boat.

The indigenous culture, severely displaced by colonial and Western influences, gives us a unique tourist attraction. The remains of the Japanese occupation in WWII scattered around the island provide some interest for World War Two enthusiasts. There is also the massive skeletal remains of the phosphate mining industry.

While their loved ones and partners are inspecting old wreckage, their traveling companions can watch the sea birds swooping over inland cliffs and listen to the blustery surfs lapping the coastline.

Few of the old customs have survived, but some forms of traditional music, arts and crafts, and fishing are still practiced and will survive.

So your main claim to fame in visiting Nauru, is that you could boast of having traveled to the Number One least visited country on the planet!

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