south-africa-drone-laws-updated
height flight limit

120m max height

can't fly over crowds of people

50m away from people

drone distance range white icon

500m max range

Only line of sight

All Drone Laws in South Africa For 2020 (Ultimate Guide)

The South Africa National Aviation Authority, SACAA developed a list of regulations for all drone users countrywide. The rules apply to both commercial and recreational drone users. The country is also considered one of the very first to introduce rules on RPAS. 

Table of Contents

Are drones legal in South Africa?

Yes, drones are legal to fly in South Africa as long as you follow the basic rules.

Who to contact?

To get in touch with the Civil Aviation Authority, limit your reach out during official work hours. 

Contact information

Johannesburg

Email: rpasinbox@caa.co.za

Tel: +270115451000

Cape Town

Email: rpasinbox@caa.co.za 

Tel: +270219344744

south africa drone picture

What are the drone rules in South Africa?

  • checkmark
    Recreational use requires no registration
    If the purpose of your drone flight is recreational, you do not have to register your drone or seek any licenses. However, the SACAA RPAS rules and regulations still apply.
  • checkmark
    Maximum of 7k drone
    A recreational drone user should not fly a drone exceeding 7 Kg. This should not be a problem as hobby pilots aren’t allowed to transport cargo or carry passengers.
  • moon day icon night flying
    No night flying
    Night flying is prohibited and day travel is only authorized if the weather is clear.
  • line of sight icon
    Line of sight
    You must always maintain a visual line of sight in what is referred to as R-VLOS.
  • drone distace icon
    500m max range
    The maximum distance permitted for the drone pilot is 500 m while maintaining direct sight.
  • height icon
    120m max height
    The drone should fly no higher than 120 m (400 ft) from ground
  • checkmark
    50m distance
    Keep away (50 m) from buildings, people and roads.
  • plane icon
    10km from airports
    Maintain a healthy 10 Km or more away from any airport
  • plane icon
    NO fly zonez
    You can look up the no-fly zones within the country. Good examples are prisons, courts of law, nuclear power plants, and a lot more.

Other restricted spaces are the national parks as the drones can irritate the animals with their noise. Special conservation drones are used in the parks and these require the user to have a remote pilot license and special permission to operate. Further clarification can be found on the SANPARKS website

 

You must have permission to fly over someone’s property.

Can I bring a drone to South Africa?

Yes, provided you personally own the drone.

Where to fly my drone while in South Africa

A look at the app will point out the areas that need attention and those that do not. Avoid going near any military infrastructure or any property of national significance.

Rules on commercial drone use in South Africa

Going by law, South Africa requires any use of drones that results in a transactional exchange be classified as a commercial drone use.

If you fall under this category you need a drone license for yourself and registration for the drone.  In the event you are a foreigner with a drone pilot license, you should have it validated and approved by contacting gouwene@caa.co.za 

The eligibility test for commercial drone use is:

  1. Over 18 years of age
  2. Good health medical assessment report
  3. English language proficiency

Should I get a drone license in South Africa?

Contact a registered training academy in the country. You can find them here. The license is normally in two parts:

  • The theory and practical exam
  • Special form

How long does my license in South Africa remain valid?

The license remains valid for two years from the date it was certified. Upon certification, fill out this form.

How to register a drone in South Africa

  1. Fill out this form (Form CA-47R1)

How old must one be to register for a drone in South Africa?

To be eligible for drone registration, you should be 16 years old. 

Can I be penalized for illegally flying a drone in South Africa?

As with everywhere else, the severity of your punishments depends on the charge levied against you. If you are lucky, you will part with a hefty fine of 3,500 Rand. If unlucky, you are looking at 10 years worth of jail time.

What are my top drones to fly safely in Finland?

My following two recommendations are 2 great compact drones that are quite silent and also small enough to travel with and not stand out as annoying.

1.Dji Mavic Mini - The best international travel drone (under 250g)

DJI has surprised us with this incredible camera drone under 250g, which is half of the weight required for registering in the first place.

 

I have covered it much more in depth in my article review and even compared it with the DJI Spark and Mavic Air.

Advantages

  • 30 min battery life
  • under 250g
  • super portable
  • 4km range
  • can edit videos in the app

DISAdvantages

  • no obstacle avoidance
  • no settings for iso and shutter speed

2.Dji Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

mavic air 2 package fly more combo
If you want more control over things like shutter speed, iso and such, the best professional drone that still falls under the 500g category is the DJI Mavic Air.
 
It's made mostly for people who want to play around with settings and enter into the pro category.
 

 

DJI lowered it's price since it was first released.

Advantages

  • 3 way sensors
  • 68kph (fastest among the 3)
  • follow me mode(quite a few options)
  • 8gb internal storage
  • ISo & shutter speed settings
  • 6 photo modes
  • takes RAW photos
  • 100mbps bitrate

DISAdvantages

  • battery life ins't that amazing

Restricted Areas and Geofencing (drone FLying map)

The best way to figure out what areas you can fly in, while you're here is by consulting DJI offilicial map.
They do a great job mapping the places that one should avoid while flying in every country:

  • airports
  • military bases
  • prisons
  • power plants
  • any high risk areas
romania flying map dji