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mkamionka 02-11-2019 08:30 AM

To tyro: safety
Hi John,
you are right: I discourage anyone from travelling to Middle East nowadays, in particular having an attractive female companion or with a family
I think a lot has changed.
I have done some extra trips in Egypt with my wife independently. For example rented a carriage in Luxor at night and went to some extra places or rented a boat or taxi in Luxor. People were staring at us then as being only tourists in some spots but I think they were kind and open.
Today I would not go there at all.
In fact I erased Middle East for an unforeseeable future from my list of places to go.
I didn't mention it in the first place because some people are laughing at me on TE saying that I am too careful.
Kind regards,

tyro 02-11-2019 10:23 AM

No laughing matter.....
Hi Mariusz,

Thank you for your reply! No, I certainly wouldn't laugh because safety should always be a priority, especially if you have family, especially young ones, with you when you travel. But, yes, I rather suspected that this would be your suggestion nowadays to avoid such places.

Actually, I was in Madagascar with one of my daughters (then in her early 20s) in 2001 and we never felt at all threatened - but a few years later there were reports of some tourists having been attacked and killed. Nowadays, however, things in Madagascar seem to have settled down a bit and I see that Luciano has recently been there and has had a wonderful experience and taken some fabulous photographs.

I think for anyone from Britain wanting to travel abroad it would be wise to look at the Foreign Office advice here

Take care.

Kindest Regards,


Porteplume 02-11-2019 11:02 AM

Hi John & Mariusz, dear friends,


... in particular having an attractive female companion...
Thanks for the good info and also a little bit for the laugh... ;)
As Mariusz said, It is quite safe to take your “ugly partner” with you on travel ... :)

Lots of hugs for both of you,

emka 02-11-2019 11:48 AM

Madagaskar (for John)
Luciano was just on the island for the tourists. Nothing special. My friend Grazyna visited Madagascar for the second time in summer 2018. She went there and traveled ALONE. see <a href="">here</a> what the places she visited (You can skip the text in Polish, just see the pictures). She went there especially to see the famadihana (
Probably, I wouldn't be so brave. :)
Best regards


holmertz 02-11-2019 12:37 PM

I think you are more exposed to possible terrorists or any kinds of criminals if you travel in a group on a tour arranged by a tourism company. I always travel on my own, using local transports, and I have rarely felt unsafe anywhere. I am no longer much of a traveller these days, but theoretically I would gladly go to the Middle East, except of course for obvious reasons to Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen. But when I was in Yemen the country had a bad reputation for kidnappings of tourists (usually as a political pressure on the government, not intended to harm the tourists), but I avoided the worst area and stayed away from all travel companies, and I felt perfectly safe on all local buses and shared taxis.

mkamionka 02-11-2019 01:53 PM

I think times have changed a bit since the Arab spring or whatever they called it.
I don't think there is so much threat from the actual organized terrorists. It is now more about some crazy frustrated brainwashed people whose percentage may be higher than before.
I am not sure who was behind attacks in Tunisia or Nice/France or more recently in Morocco but although they called themselves terrorists I think they were exactly these crazy frustrated brainwashed people, who acted because they had opportunity, so I would be more afraid of this type of spontaneous action now than an actual terrorist attack. People are radicalized even in Europe (Brexit being an example as well) but in Middle East you are easy to be noticed especially with family or my wife dressing differently, I mean not wearing scarf, in fact not wearing much. So if you walk around a lot -you may be finally noticed by a frustrated brainwashed person :(


emka 02-11-2019 05:25 PM

"In Middle East you are easy to be noticed especially with family or my wife dressing differently, I mean not wearing scarf, in fact not wearing much. "
You are ridiculous Mariusz. The most important rule if you go anywhere is to show respect for local customs. When your wife will be dressed in a decent way, there will be no problems with safety.
Besides, Middle East it is also Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai, Jordan, Oman...

mkamionka 02-11-2019 09:17 PM

Well, speaking about local customs, on the bazaar in Aswan we have actually purchased traditional local clothes. I still have a proper Galabiya while my wife selected a belly dance costume...
Yes we have seen that local ladies were swimming in the ocean in hijabs but snorkeling in hijab must be quite challenging, although Nike has this modern hijab series.

I think most of people on the forum know what is the situation.
Some like to provoke this sort of discussion and watch the same arguments over and over again.

If someone tells me: I have been there and nothing happened to me, what does it prove?
May be it proves that you were lucky.
I have never had a driving accident in my long life. Does it mean that accidents don't happen? No I see them almost every day on the way to work. Yes being careful helps like with the driving, but if a crazy person drives behind you, it does not matter how careful you are, you may get hit. My friend a very careful experienced driver was hit by a crazy drunk.
If you dress in a cheap hijab and don't take camera with you, you may be less noticeable (but what is the point of trip without camera for me or without dressing up for my wife?). Although my Algerian friend discouraged me from visiting Algeria saying that even if I dress like a local my blue eyes will sell me out and it is simply too dangerous and not worth it.

Recently a friend told me her son was raped in South Africa. Another group of Irish friends were mugged near Barcelona, they lost everything and spent holidays trying to get passport for the return trip. These are cases not from the news, from people I know.

I think the two Scandinavian girls whose throats were cut recently in Morocco were decently dressed. I would actually still consider going to Morocco and staying near the touristy places but when I heard about two girls hiking alone in the remote mountains in Morocco I thought some people are just asking for trouble. Probably somebody told them on a forum like TrekEarth that traveling individually is safer than in organized groups and that if they dress like locals nobody will harm them.

tyro 02-12-2019 10:28 AM

Maybe I shall just stay at home.........
Hello dear friends,

What a fascinating (and also occasionally depressing) discussion about places to visit and placed to avoid!

I particularly liked Malgo's links to the amazing places in Madagascar which her friend, Grazyna, visited - those photographs are amazing and one day I shall get around to trying a Google translation on Grazyna's extensive notes. Yes, I believe that Luciano only really visited Nosy Be but my daughter and I in 2001 visited Nosy Be, Morondava (and the nearby Kirindi) as well as, of course, Antananarivo. I should love to visit Madagascar again sometime, especially now equipped with a good digital camera. Although we never witnessed the incredible Famadihana ceremonies, we did come across a rather impressive and also somewhat explicitly decorated grave in a forested area in the Kirindi which you can see here - in fact, I was so impressed by this that I rather think I should like eventually to be commemorated with an erection (!) such as this when I die! :)

Mariusz has certainly done his homework and certainly gives a lot of advice about travel to far off places but I think Gert has also given us much down-to-earth sensible advice gleaned from many years of very extensive travels indeed.

So should one just stay at home or not travel far? Maybe not all that safe after all because, apparently, on account of ancient laws which have not been repealed, it is quite legal to kill a Scotsman entering the city of York (provided he is carrying a bow and arrows) and a Scotsman wearing a kilt can still be shot on sight in the Isle of Man. But, out of interest, do you know the one thing that is definitely forbidden within the Houses of Parliament? You are not allowed to die! :( Ho hum.

Kind Regards,


mkamionka 02-13-2019 02:51 PM

This is my answer to Jorge who also commented on the organized tours in his comment under this photo.
For some reason it appears to be more "cool" to do everything independently.
I agree that having the freedom is a great benefit but sometimes one has to balance the cost and benefits.
Some TE members don't drive cars and for me it is unimaginable to use always public transportation because exactly I wouldn't have enough freedom. So those members are not ashamed to take an organized tour in some places because they are afraid to drive a car but they play hard core travelers in other situations when for example safety of my relatives would be of concern.
I think it is always a cost benefit analysis. When I went to Argentina -I decided I cannot rely on public transportation to cross from El Calafate to Torres del Paine. The public transportation would cost me extra two days. But cars available for rental had only manual transmissions which I am not used to drive because I learned to drive in America.
So to be able to rent a car I took extra lessons before going to Argentina to have extra freedom...
But when safety is of concern I don't mind to risk my own life but not the well-being of my wife and child, just for the fun of travel.
Also as you pointed out in some destinations which are underdeveloped you may may have a problem to reach places of interest either due to the language barrier or underdeveloped public transport. Of course you can get everywhere eventually but some places would require extra day or so. People who have a lot of time to spare can afford it for the sake of adventure but for me the ability of seeing and enjoying the destination is the goal and not sitting for hours on the bus. Basically you can see more in a limited time on an organized tour, so as much as I love traveling independently in many cases organized tours are cheaper, faster, more efficient and SAFER.
On average I travel independently in developed countries which have more reliable public transport, are safer etc and use organized tours in underdeveloped countries.

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