ISIS Takes Over Nearby Resort; Is No News Still Good News?

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This is a cautionary tale to do your homework, operate with caution, and occasionally do a google search of the location that you’re planning to visit.


This is not a post to encourage fear about traveling internationally. It’s not even a post to imply that I understand the goal, ideology, or strategy of various religious groups/sects around the world. In fact, I whole-heartedly admit that I know very little about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS).

However, with very limited knowledge, I do understand they want to expand their “territory.”

It has been widely documented that ISIS has taken over, invested, and operated several resorts around the world (simply google ‘Ninawa International Hotel in Mosul’). However, that investment strategy has NOT faired well and they’ve…adapted.

As I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, I am planning a big trip to Africa and am narrowing down the exact dates and countries (some included on THIS LIST).

In order to properly social distance (as one should), I’ve focused on accommodations that may be considered “off-the-beaten-path.”

One specific example of a resort that I’ve already booked is the Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort located on a small island between Mozambique and Comoros.

If you’re not familiar with the Anantara brand, they are known for embracing and incorporating local aesthetics and vibes into their hotels (e.g. architecture, interior design details, and activities like cooking classes in the local cuisine).

In fact, several Anantara properties have also received international acclaim and solidified their spot on the “top hotels” lists in Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Robb Report, etc.

Here’s a video from the Anantara Medjumbe Island:


According to the The Sun, two weeks ago, ISIS torched an uber-exclusive luxury resort on Vamizi Island where many A-list celebrities have visited and enjoyed their holidays.

According to the report, the group arrived by boat in the middle of the night, did not hurt anyone, but ordered everyone to abandon the entire “island of Vamizi and Mecungo.”

Here is the challenge, take a look at this map of Vamizi Island and Anantara Medjumbe.

In my eyes, that’s fairly close. When searching the distance between the mainland port city near Vamizi and mainland port city near Anantara, they are separated by nearly 100km (~60 miles), so I suspect the islands too are separated by this distance.

Although my reservation is not until 2021, I have not heard any information from the hotel and interestingly, the hotel is currently accepting bookings for next week…


Generally, when I go on vacation to a beautiful island in the middle of the ocean, I appreciate and thrive in silence.

The potential of being awaken in the middle of the night and ordered to leave an island is a bit unnerving and I’d rather not participate.

Fortunately, the hotel has a good cancellation policy given the pandemic, but I have a lot of questions…

Does the hotel have an obligation to contact me? At what point should the hotel contact me? Would it bother you if you had NOT heard any information from the hotel even though your reservation is months away? How close (in distance) would the hotel have to be to be “too close” for comfort…one island over, two islands over? What would you do with the reservation? Keep it or cancel?

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