Drone Licences and Regulations in South Africa

The evolution of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology or drone has been significant since the beginning of the last century. In the past, these drones were primarily used for military purposes. However, in the last decade, they have been more accessible

and affordable to the public and businesses like never before. South Africa is one of the largest drone markets in Africa, utilising this technology in several industries ranging from mining, healthcare to energy.


Drone Licences

  1. If you are a hobbyist using a drone for personal purposes, you do not need a licence. However, you must follow the guidelines set by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) for the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAs).
  2. If you are looking to fly commercial, however, you must obtain a licence from the SACAA as well as enrol for training at an approved training organisation (ATO). 


As a private user in South Africa, there are several drone regulations to follow:

  1. You are prohibited to fly drones that weigh more than 7kgs. This is easy as most drones usually weigh between 1 to 1.5kgs.
  2. You are not allowed to fly the drone at night or during harsh weather conditions such as fog or rain.
  3. While flying, you must maintain Restricted Visual Line of Sight (R-VLOS) i.e., you must always have a direct view of your drone. Other parameters to follow:
  • Maximum distance: Up to 500m away while maintaining R-VLOS
  • Maximum height: Not higher than 45m from the ground
  1. You must maintain a distance of 50m from people, roads, and buildings. There are also several restricted or No Fly Zones (NFZ) that you must steer clear of. These include:
  • Prisons
  • Police stations
  • Crime scenes
  • Courts of law
  • Nuclear power plants
  • SAN parks

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find drones close to home.

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