Extreme trips of the danger tourist shot at by Russians and ISIS

Extreme trips of the danger tourist who met Shamima Begum: Father-of-four tells of fleeing knifeman in Congo and meeting Iraqi sniper pointing his rifle at his own home where ISIS had kidnapped his wife and children

  • EXCLUSIVE:  Danger tourist Andrew Drury, 56, has revealed his wildest trips
  • The father-of-four has travelled to wars in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Last year, he journeyed to Ukraine to rescue a circus bear from shelling 

‘I’ve been shot at by the Russians and by ISIS – but only been threatened with death once, and that was by a KKK cretin who liked Downton Abbey- so that’s a good return really.’

Those are the words of British danger tourist Andrew Drury, a 56-year-old father of four who has visited some of the world’s most dangerous places and lived to tell his story and others.

Since being chased out of a banana field by a knife-wielding Ugandan farmer when he was 27, Andrew’s lust for adrenaline has taken him to absurd places.

He’s seen conflict, killing, civil unrest and devastation in countries including Ukraine, Chechnya, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He’s befriended soldiers and terrorists – most famously British ISIS exile Shamima Begum – a woman he now considers a ‘manipulative liar’, and has ambitions to continue for as long as his luck persists.

‘It’s been mental’, admits Andrew, ‘Like everything in life, I got into it by mistake.’

Andrew Drury outside the Al-Roj prison camp in Syria where he met ISIS brides including Shamima Begum

Andrew Drury in Mogadishu, Somalia on a visit in 2020

When Andrew was 27-years-old, he drifted away from his group during a ‘boring’ Gorilla trek and ended up in banana field. 

He explained: ‘I was just on a normal holiday to Uganda – gorilla trekking-  and I thought gorillas were boring. There was a war on in Zaire, now the Congo, and I thought it was worth a go.

‘It ended when I was chased by a man with a knife who thought I was stealing his bananas. I was hooked immediately.’ 

Andrew has become a BAFTA award winning filmmaker for his travels 

Following this brush with death, the builder from Surrey plotted more daring trips and soon after ended up being the first tourists inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone in Ukraine – something that puzzles him to this day. 

He said: ‘I don’t know how Chernobyl happened, I booked a trip to Crimea and when we were in Kiev, we thought we’d just give it a go. 

‘I think the people who let us in thought we were researchers and just passed us in.

‘We went everywhere that tourists these days aren’t allowed to go – stumbling around old hotels and fairground rides. I wasn’t concerned by the radiation – we’re all gonna die sometime.’ 

However, even Andrew has his limits. 

He continued: ‘We did meet an old lady on the outskirts of Pripyat who had never left, and she scared me. 

‘She cooked us some food and we obviously we didn’t want to eat it. She had all her human parts and wasn’t melting, but it wasn’t worth the risk.’ 

For a man with taste like Andrew’s it can be hard to quantify what an acceptable level of risk actually is. 

In his pursuit of adventure, Andrew has spent time with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and the Shia militia fighting ISIS and travelled into the bowels of war torn countries like Nigeria, Kosovo, Syria and Pakistan. 

Andrew at the crash site of one of the American Black Hawk helicopters in Mogadishu, Somalia

Andrew with some of the heavily armed entourage of the Sikander Shah

In one memorable trip to Mogadishu in Somalia, he set himself the task of locating the infamous Black Hawk helicopter shot down during the civil war in 1993. 

‘I am convinced she is bitter and twisted’: Filmmaker who met and shared texts with ISIS bride Shamima Begum – and at first felt sorry for her – claims she is ‘playing the victim card in an attempt to get back to the UK’ 


To this day he credits it as one of the most dangerous things he’s ever done. 

He said: ‘I remember landing at the airport and the first thing I saw as locals having a punch up. 

‘I was given a 50/50 chance of getting back from the Black Hawk Down crash site. 

‘We did eventually see it and thankfully got back in time. It was a bit underwhelming – it was just in someone’s back yard next to a cactus.’

Andrew’s long suffering wife, who he previously revealed had stopped speaking to him, has now come around to his trips and is supportive of the work he does in the media. 

He explained: ‘Looking back, I’m ashamed of my voyeuristic nature in my early trips but some of my recent trips to Iraq changed the way I thought about danger tourism. 

‘I remember I was in a building in Iraq and I met a man who was training a sniper rifle on a house across the road. 

‘I asked him why he was doing that and he explained that ISIS fighters had seized his house and kept his wife and daughter inside. 

‘He didn’t know if they were still alive. 

‘That changed me, I was no longer bringing back bragging rights, I was bringing back stories.

‘My wife has come round to things since I started doing the media side of things. 

‘I don’t tell my family all the dangers of course, my kids think I’m invincible, though obviously I’m not.’ 

Andrew Drury (third from left) with his cousin Nigel (second from left) during their first trip to Mogadishu, Somalia, where they became the first tourists to the Black Hawk Down crash site

It goes without saying that Andrew is patently lucky to be alive given his compulsions. 

He’s been shot at twice in his career, once by Russian fighters in Ukraine and the other in a terrifying shoot out with ISIS in Kirkuk, Iraq. 

He explained that it was a situation he was fortunate to walk away from. 

He said: ‘ We heard there was something going on so we headed down to Kirkuk and  asked directions to the frontline. We followed local TV crews in and they let us as they thought we were media. 

‘We drove until we could hear artillery and gunfire and then it went quiet. 

‘Suddenly a bullet ripped past and it was clear we were in the midst of a gunfight. 

‘We were lucky to get out alive, at the end of the day we were able to take them out quicker.’

When he’s not roughing it with freedom fighters, Andrew dedicates a portion of his time to helping unfortunate animals including a raging Ukranian circus bear with a Bowell issue. 

He explained: ‘I flew out to Ukraine last year to help a circus bear I’d heard about. I wanted a reason to go and that was it. 

‘We picked up the bear outside Lviv and sedated it and as we were driving it in the van it woke up. 

‘It was very scary, they’re ferocious animals. It growled and s**t and p****d itself for two and half days before we got it to the bear sanctuary.’ 

‘It sadly died a few months after we got it too Romania due to stress. How ungrateful!’ 

Andrew visited the frontline of Ukraine and gave his flak jacket to a soldier 

Andrew says the bear was a good excuse for him to go to Ukraine 

Sadly Andrew’s bear died shortly after it was brought to Romania

Andrew has documented many of his best adventures in a new book

Amazingly for a man whose spent times with some of the most dangerous people in the world, Andrew has very few enemies – except of course Rev Travis Pierce of the Ku Klux Klan. 

During his brief dalliance with the clan, Andrew says he demystified what they are all about and was even less impressed than before his visit.  

He said: ‘I heard Rev Travis Pierce going off on one on the radio and decided to email him.

‘It worked and I got to spend a day and a half with the Klan. 

‘They’re very strange people, they look inbred, He had a gift shop and lots of literature. 

‘He was bragging about how hard they were and then told us about all his beef with ethnic people – the usual crap.

As I was leaving, he stopped me and asked what the latest episode of Downton Abbey was like. 

‘When I spoke to him again, he said he’d now done his research and if I ever came back he’d kill me.’ 

And although a return visit to the bookstore of the KKK is off the menu, Andrew claims he has a few more trips up his sleeve including an exclusive interview. 

He said: ‘I’m going into Ukraine again, I may have a Zelensky interview with President Zelensky that may happen in Kiev. I hope to take a few stories back with me. 

‘I’d also like to go to the Russian side to see what their frontline is like.’

Andrew Drury’s debut book Trip Hazard featuring his remarkable journeys around the world is out now. 

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