ADVENTURER Simon Reeve has seen the best and worst of the world on his travels, from beautiful tropical forests to a murder scene in Honduras.
But his riskiest ever trip was to war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, when suicide bombers stormed the military compound he was in and left him fearing for his life.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun ahead of the return of his BBC programme Incredible Journeys with Simon Reeve, he recalled the terrifying moment.
"There were a couple of times there when I did think, yes, this might go very badly wrong.
"I remember one night we were on a secret military base there, which was this bizarre hodgepodge of spies and aid workers, and a very naive journalist from Japan, along with a detachment of French Special Forces who were there to try and rescue some hostages.
"Suicide bombers came over the walls into this base. Then it really did feel like 'my god, we’re not going to get out of here. This place is completely mad."
The city is regarded as one of the most dangerous in the world, with the British government warning terrorist attacks are likely and the threat of kidnap is high.
During Simon's visit in 2012, Mogadishu was at the heart of a war between peacekeeping group African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and Islamic militant group Al Shabaab.
He continued: "When we were out on the ground, we were taken up to the front line as African Union troops were fighting off militant fighters and warlords, and we had to be evacuated out of there because the fighters on the other side were setting up rocket propelled grenades to try and get us.
"We had to run across open ground with snipers firing over our heads as covering fire and explosions going off. It felt completely bats**t mad."
However, not all the dangers he's faced comprise of guns, bombs and militants.
The roads of India have had a long-lasting effect on him, with a rogue driver's careless actions behind the wheel imprinted in his mind.
"I’m sure I’ve got a bit of PTSD, and I don’t say that lightly, it’s kind of inevitable to wake up with the cold fear, but some of it comes from the bloody Indian roads.
"One time we had a slightly nutty driver, who not only believed in reincarnation but thought using headlights at night meant using up petrol, so he’d drive with the lights out, and carts and coaches would come down the wrong side of the road towards us.
"I was in the front seat being filmed, and it’s absolutely terrifying. I had to grab the wheel a couple of times to avoid certain catastrophe."
Viewers who tune into Incredible Journeys, which compiles Simon's travels and sees him reflect on his journeys from his home in Dartmoor, will also watch anxiously as he crosses a river to get into a militarised part of Burma.
"We do have a bit on this covert mission we did into a military region of Burma, which was exciting, and scary, and terrifying, and humbling, and emotional at the same time."
Despite these hair-raising experiences, Simon is keen to stress that moments of peril are few and far between, and the world is in fact safer now than ever before.
"I remember when I was growing up and people didn’t really go away the way they do now.
"I did think the outside world was a bit of a frightening place. I was really quite stunned when I started going on big adventures and discovered that actually it’s very warm and welcoming out here.
"I don’t want Brits to think the land beyond Calais is terrifying. It belongs to all of us and everyone is welcome. It really does feel like that."
Incredible Journeys With Simon Reeve returns Sundays at 8pm from 24 January, on BBC Two
Source: Read Full Article