The December 2004-January 2005 floods in the Garden Route region of the Southern Cape, South Africa

15 August 2013

The December 2004-January 2005 floods in the Garden Route region of the Southern Cape in South Africa have had a significant impact on local development and economic activities, tourism products andlocal institutions. This article aims to capture the dynamism between a number of related fields within the context of transdisciplinary research. Qualitative research methods were used to target a representative sample of the affected population. This article considers the history of the flooding events of December 2004/January 2005 along the Garden Route, as well as the manner in which emergency/disaster management personnel responded to the crisis. The effect of the floods on the tourism sector along the Garden Route was researched in general and the effects of the floods on tourists, local residents, and particularly communities in disadvantaged areas were specifically determined. The research reflects on the disaster risk management strategies that were in place at the time of the floods to determine what local authorities could have done to cope with the potential conditions of crisis. The research found that although some tourism products were severely affected, the 2004/2005 floods did not have a significant impact on the number of tourists frequenting the area. In terms of disaster risk management, concerns remain regarding the lack of the following factors: capacity, adequate early warning systems, proper infrastructure maintenance, local institutions, and an in-depth understanding of the disaster risk profile of the area.