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South African Rules and Regulations


Apr 3, 2017
Good day all,

I just need clarity on a few of the rules for operation of my Mavic in South Africa.
Here is a link to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) website that explains the rules.
1. It mentions RPA's not being 50m from people/persons, buildings/structures. Is this a lateral distance or vertical ?
2. I see it mentions 150ft as the maximum height - I think this is an error as that roughly translates to about 45m, which conflicts heavily with point 1 above setting the maximum distance (assuming it is vertical)
3. I have also seen this on another thread


• Do not fly more than 400 feet above the ground (about a 40 story building).
• Do not fly more than 500 meters away from the pilot (line of sight).
• Do not fly closer than 10km from an airport (any registered aerodrome, airstrip, helipad, etc).
• Do not fly closer than 50m from people.
• Do not fly closer than 50m from buildings.
• Do not fly closer than 50m from roads.
• Do not fly any drone more than 7kg for hobby use (up to 20kg for commercial use).

Any commercial use requires a License.

Another big thing DO NOT fly in any of our SANPARK areas (Kruger National Park etc.) Rhino poachers use drones to track down Rhinos so if they catch you doing it there you will have a lot of trouble.

This conflicts with what is on the website - as the above quote mentions 400ft as maximum height restrictions for legal flight, and doesn't specify the 50m being lateral or vertical. Also, if an area is a nature reserve and not necessarily SANPARK registered areas, is a drone permitted then ?
Offhand hard to say - the linked page seems rather gentle on drones. But they do say they've relegated oversight to South African Model Aircraft Association (SAAMA),

So perhaps contacting them will help. Notice, the Canadian equivalent has the government's ear and has made a total mess of things here.
I traveled to South Africa last year and I contacted a bunch of drone shops in the areas I was going to be to ask them about flying. They explained everything to me and encouraged me to bring mine and fly. I really wanted to do it, but I ended up not bringing mine because I was also going to be in England and France and didn't want any hassle in customs in those countries.

I find contacting places that specialize in drones within the countries I will be visiting provides a wealth of information as to whether I should expect any issues.
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