Drones are fun, but they’re also a serious business. That’s why you need to know the rules in South Africa. If you’re planning on buying a drone, or already own one, we want to make sure that you’re flying safely and responsibly.

Drones can only be operated within the line of sight of the operator, and they must remain below 120 meters above ground level. They cannot fly within 50 meters of any person who isn’t involved in the flight, and they cannot be flown when it’s raining.

Drone Rules In South Africa

Drone Rules In South Africa

You Need A Certificate Of Airworthiness

If you want to fly a drone that weighs more than 7kg, you will need a certificate of airworthiness. To get this, you can either apply directly to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) or use one of the registered persons who can issue certificates on behalf of the CAA.

The CAA does not take long to process your application and will issue you with an airworthiness certificate along with other documents such as an unmanned aircraft operator’s permit and proof of liability insurance within seven days.

You’ll Need To Get A Remote Pilot License To Fly

You’ll need to get a remote pilot license if you want to fly any drones that are over 2.9kg and have it done by a registered person. You must be 18 years or older to apply for the license.

To complete the application process, you’ll need:

  • A signed declaration form from your current employer stating that you will use the drone for work purposes only (if applicable) – this is an alternative option if you’re unable to provide proof of employment or student status as required in each case;
  • The fee for issuing an RPAS Remote Pilot License;

The application process can take up to six weeks so plan ahead when applying! Once approved, pilots will receive their remote pilot license via email within three working days of receipt of all necessary documents.

Don’t Fly Your Drone In The Dark Or Within 50m Horizontally From Clouds

A pilot’s license is required to fly a drone. You must be over 18 years old and pass a knowledge test, flight test and register your drone with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). A certificate of registration is issued, which you need to carry with you when flying.

Make Sure You Don’t Fly Your Drone Above People

You should never fly your drone over people, especially if they’re in groups. Flying over people can be dangerous and could cause injury to them. It is also a good idea to avoid flying your drone above property without permission, as this could result in damage or injury to the property.

If you intend to fly within 10km of an airport runway or airfield, contact the operator of that airport first and ask them if you can use their airspace for your activity; otherwise, you could face prosecution for breaching the Regulation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Act [

Don’t Fly Within 10km Of An Aerodrome Or Airport

You can’t fly a drone within 10km of an aerodrome or airport, or over an active airfield.

Airfields are defined as:

  • aerodromes include airports, helipads and water aerodromes;
  • airfields include runways, taxiways, aprons and helipads;
  • airfields can be open or closed to the public;
  • airfields may be controlled by a control tower or not controlled at all (uncontrolled).

Drones Must Be Flown At Least 50m From Any Building

It’s important to note that 50m is the minimum distance from which you can fly your drone. If you have permission from the building’s owner, or if you’re flying for commercial purposes (e.g., filming a wedding), then it’s okay to get closer. Otherwise, stay at least 50m away from any building or structure.

You Can’t Transmit Live Visuals From Your Drone

It’s also against the law to transmit live visuals from your drone without permission. This means you cannot use the drone to monitor people or property, as well as any other activity that would be considered spying.

Don’t Operate Your Drone While Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Alcohol

  • Don’t Operate Your Drone While Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Alcohol.

This is a no brainer, but it’s such an important rule that we’re putting it first. You shouldn’t attempt to fly a drone while you’re impaired—not only are you putting yourself at risk, but you’re also increasing the chances of accidents happening around you and possibly hurting other people.

  • Don’t fly closer than 50m from congested areas, vehicles or structures like buildings and bridges.

If there’s any chance of colliding with another person (or their property), stay away! The same goes for other aircraft—if there are any in sight, don’t use your drone until they’ve left the area.

Operators Are Liable For Any Damage Caused By Their Drones.

  • You are liable for any damage caused by your drone.
  • You must have an insurance policy that covers the cost of repairs or replacement of damaged property, as well as any medical expenses incurred by anyone injured while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including yourself. If you don’t have adequate insurance and are involved in an accident with a third party who is injured due to your negligence, the injured party may sue you for damages resulting from their injuries.
  • You must obtain permission from the owner of any property before flying over it with your drone.

You’ll Need A License And Other Rules To Follow

  • You must be 16 years or older to fly a drone.
  • You can’t fly your drone if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Licenses are valid for 2 years, and cost R100 (about $6 USD) for the license test and R600 ($36 USD) for the actual license.

How To Register Drone In South Africa

How To Register Drone In South Africa

You Need To Follow The Regulations

If you want to register drone in South Africa, you need to follow the regulations.

The first thing you’ll need is a credit card and internet access. You also need to be 18 or older and have either a driver’s license or ID book.

When registering your drone, you will be asked several questions including: who is the owner of the drone? Is there any reason why they shouldn’t fly their drone? What type of aircraft do they own? And where did they purchase it from?

You Must Be 18 Or Older To Register Drone In South Africa

  • You must be 18 or older.
  • You must be a South African citizen.
  • You must be a resident of South Africa.

You Need A Driver’s License Or Id Book To Register Drone In South Africa

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) requires that you submit your driver’s license or ID book when registering a drone in South Africa. The document must be issued by a government agency, and it must be in your name. It also has to be valid for at least five years.

Drone Registration In South Africa Is Easy.

You can register your drone in South Africa online. You may also register your drone at a post office, police station, government office or a drone store.

Drone registration in South Africa is easy and does not take more than five minutes to complete the form

Are Drones Allowed In South Africa

Drones are quite popular in South Africa, and there are plenty of people who own them. But are drones allowed in South Africa? The short answer is yes—you can fly a drone in South Africa without a license. However, if you want to take photos (either professionally or just for fun), you’ll need to be aware of the relevant laws.

Yes, You Can Fly A Drone In South Africa Without A License

You can fly a drone in South Africa without a license. This means that you do not need to register your drone, apply for a license or get insurance if you are flying it recreationally.

What is the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)? The SACAA is the aviation authority responsible for regulating all aircraft within South Africa and they have no jurisdiction over drones as they do not fall under their remit.

You Need To Apply For A License To Fly Your Drone Commercially.

To legally fly a drone, you’ll need to apply for a license from the Department of Civil Aviation.

You must be at least 18 years old, a South African citizen or permanent resident, and able to read and speak English fluently.

You will also need to demonstrate that you can safely operate your craft, as well as pass technical exams on aeronautical law, meteorology and air navigation procedures.

If You’re Taking Photos For Professional Purposes

If You’re Taking Photos For Professional Purposes, you will also need to adhere to the conditions of the Film and Publications Act of 1996. This act applies to all forms of media including still photography, film, television and radio broadcasting.

The Film and Publications Board (FPB) is responsible for regulating movies and video games in South Africa. It’s also responsible for classifying films based on their suitability for specific audiences.

The FPB uses a rating system similar to that used by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). If your drone footage contains mature content or graphic violence then it may not be suitable for general viewing and could be censored by the FPB if they believe it’s unsuitable based on its context or content alone (i.e., no age restrictions necessary).

Drone Regulations Are Expected To Change As The Government Develops Its Plan

If you want to fly your drone in South Africa, it’s important to keep up with the latest developments and changes in drone policy so that you don’t break any laws or get into trouble with the authorities.


You can’t fly a drone within a 3 kilometer radius of an airport, and you can’t fly above 400 feet. If you want to fly your drone for commercial purposes, you need to get a license from the Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa.

If you want to fly a drone in South Africa, it is possible. But if you are flying your drone for commercial purposes (such as taking photos), then you will need to apply for a permit from the Department of Transport or the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). You will also need to adhere to the conditions of the Film and Publications Act of 1996.

If you’re looking to get started but aren’t quite sure where to start, why not check out our guide on how to use drones? There’s also a lot of information here on what you need to know about flying a drone in South Africa.

Frequently Asked Questions (drone Laws South Africa)

What Are The Drone Laws In South Africa?

There are a lot of misconceptions around drone laws in South Africa. This is because there is no one law that regulates drones in South Africa, but rather a combination of various pieces of legislation.

For example, while you can use your drone for fun or recreation (like taking photos), you need to be careful if you’re using it for commercial purposes because this will fall under the ambit of aviation law.

How Are Drones Used In South Africa?

Drones are used in a variety of ways in South Africa. They’re often used to take aerial photographs, for example. Drones have also been used by search and rescue teams to help locate missing people, or even for firefighting. They can be deployed as crowd control tools at sports games or concerts, as well.

Can I Fly A Drone At Night In South Africa?

In South Africa you need to get permission from the Air Traffic Control (ATC). You can do this by visiting their website and downloading an application form. You must complete the form and submit it to the ATC with a copy of your drone licence or certificate. If they approve your application, they will send you an approval letter.

How Do I Get A Permit To Fly My Drone?

To get a Permit to Fly your drone, you will need to apply for one. You can do this online using the NPA’s website. You will need to provide proof of identity and a valid driver’s license. If you are applying as a commercial operator or hobbyist (and if you have been operating your drone before December 1st 2018), then yes, you can apply online and get a permit immediately!

Can Businesses Use Drones In South Africa?

If you are a business, you can fly your drone in South Africa. However, it is important to ensure that you have the correct permissions and permits for this. To fly a drone for commercial purposes in South Africa, you must apply for a permit from the Department of Transport (DoT) or its authorised agent.

You can apply for a permit if:

  • You are over 18 years old
  • You are a South African citizen or permanent resident
  • You have valid identification documents such as your passport or driver’s licence

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