Here is part of the letter I wrote to the information email address for Baviaanskloof:
I recently visited the Baviaanskloof for a day trip to Smitskraal and I was appalled at the condition of the road on the Holgat Pass between Poortjies and Doodsklip.
When I was in school (1996 – 2000), we used to drive to Doodsklip in a Combi or Microsbus with 10 – 12 people inside. Last Tuesday (see permit number 47900) my wife and I barely made it in my father’s double cab Isuzu. It’s only a 2 by 4 but it should have done the trip easily. The last time we took it into Doodsklip was in 2004 and the roads weren’t great then but they weren’t nearly as bad as they are now. I don’t believe that the roads have been graded since the end of 2000 (they were freshly graded before my matric holidays).
The relevant people must be aware of the state of the roads because we saw a cleaning crew at Doodsklip. I notice however that a typically South African approach to the problem has been adopted: instead of fixing the road, write 4 by 2 recommended on the map and put up signs warning people that the road is not suitable for sedan vehicles. There were points of the journey where my wife and I were actually scared because it felt like the car was going to go over the edge because it was bouncing and rocking so badly. Safety aside, the trip was extremely uncomfortable and I will not do it again until I know that the roads are fixed. Also, very soon, it is only going to be accessible to 4 by 4s and people with titanium spines.
The Baviaanskloof and especially the area around Doodsklip and Smitskrall is one of my favorite corners of the world and I think it is absolutely tragic that this road has been allowed to deteriorate to this extent.
Baviaans Tourism (http://www.baviaans.co.za) sent me the following reply:
Thank you for the feedback on your trip through the Baviaanskloof. You are right, the road is in a shocking condition at the moment and safety is also becoming an problem. We are in constant discussions with the Department of Roads and Transport on the state of the road as the R332 is their responsibility. They have ensured us that the repair of the road is included in their budget from 2009 to 2012.
I will however also make sure your letter is passed on to the relevant person and hope that it will contribute to our cause in improving the road through one of our countries most beautiful areas.