I will be taking my wife and daughter to Kruger in late June and early July. Although we're Americans, we are very familiar with driving ourselves around South Africa. We're intrigued with the idea of continuing our trip into Mozambique, perhaps to a beach town like Tofo. We're trying to get an idea of just how much hassle this will be versus the enjoyment of the trip, and whether self-driving is "safe enough."
Driving to Mozambique seem very adventurous for foreigners, but I can tell many South Africans do this drive, so I'm assuming it's not as "scary" at it seems. The procedure itself feels complicated. Like I know I have to get approval and some sort of documentation from my rental car company, and that doesn't seem like the easiest thing to do when I book a reservation from overseas (I'm guessing I can send a email to the car company's South African headquarters, and somebody will write back with the correct procedure). I then how to get some sort of Mozambique car insurance. That's apparently available at most border crossings but, honestly, that's the last thing I "want" to be doing at a border crossing. Is there an easy way to do it in advance, or is it not as scary as it seems? And how much does this cost: is there a "per day" price and is it tricky if you have a rental car as opposed to your own vehicle? I've also read how there are touts and "helpers" at the border crossing, and that you want to avoid them. There even seem to be some "step by step" instructions on what to do at the border. So it seems possible, but still a bit scary. It seems like all foreigners repeatedly worry about getting visas at the border but, honestly, that seems like the least of our concerns (border visas now seem to be routine).
I'm also trying to figure out if I'm best crossing at a large border control station (like Lebombo) or whether it might be easier at a smaller crossing. And what about the impact of South African school holidays? The last thing I want is to be stuck for hours at an overcrowded border station.
Assuming I can get into Mozambique, what then? Is driving safe? You see all sorts of scary warnings and reports, but you also see them for South Africa, but everyone who drives around South Africa knows it's much safer than the "reports" would suggest. So what's the deal with Mozambique: dangerous or manageable? And what about the roads? Is there a good guide to which roads are tarred and in good shape, and which roads are mediocre and which are terrible? And if I want to cut some time off my drive by using a Kruger border crossing (at least, say, in one direction) which one do I want to use and which one would be best avoided?
And even if all these driving issues are manageable, is it still "worthwhile" to cross into Mozambique? Like is it worth the trouble? Other than the beach towns, is there anything particularly interesting about visiting the country (I know the food is good!), especially if we don't want an "urban experience"? And if we do go to a beach town, should we drive to Tofo or is there a better or easier beach destination?
So many questions, as you can see. Any guidance would be much appreciated. Thank you!