Drone Regulations in Africa

Africa attracts more and more drone pilots with its enchanting landscapes. Unfortunately, legislation does not keep pace with this development. Here I try to get a little light into the darkness and enlighten about the current drone laws in Africa.

For a better overview, we have summarized the provisions vividly in two Africa maps: The first map is for the private use of drones and the second card represents the regulations for commercial drones.

Legend

  • Green indicates that you can use your copter without prior authorization under the applicable regulations. In many cases, you can get a special permit for operations beyond the rules. In some countries, you may fly without authorization, but only without a mounted camera. These countries are not green – but yellow – marked; as most pilots certainly want to create films and photographs.
  • Yellow indicates that you need to register your drone or yourself, you must apply for a permit or you need to pass a test. You will learn the details below.
  • Red indicates that the commissioning of drones is generally prohibited. In these countries, you should be especially careful, because even at the airport your drone can be confiscated partially under the laws or you can be arrested only because of the possession of the drone.
  • Grey means that I have not found reliable information or I do not sufficiently understand the drone laws. If you can help here, I appreciate your comment below the article!

Before you start here, you should also read my article on the international drone laws view. There I list general safety precautions that you should always be aware and call tips for dealing with no-fly areas.

The research for this article took several weeks and the ongoing update process of the current legal situation is extremely time consuming. Please consider to support us with a donation. Your help makes it possible that we can update and improve this article permanently! Thank you so much in advance! 🙂

Table of contents:

Egypt, Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, GhanaKenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania

Egypt

At the very beginning of our list on the drone-laws I have bad news. Owning a drone in Egypt may cause to get you into prison. That does not surprise me because of the political situation in Egypt.

Helpful links: Gov.uk, DroneJournalism

Algeria

When one of our readers arrived in Algeria, his drone was seized by the police. According to the officials, drones are prohibited in Algeria. Imprisonment threatens.

Botswana

In Botswana, some permits are required to fly with a drone. This means that each copter must be registered and receives a certificate. Foreigners need an import permit before entering the country with a copter to Botswana. In addition, you may not fly in many areas (for example, wild animals, tourism facilities such as hotels, national parks) if you have not obtained any special permission.

Maximum takeoff weight of the UAV for private flights: 7 kilograms
Conditions for commercial drone flights: unknown
Maximum altitude:
 121 meters
Frequency provisions for FPV:
unknown  
Helpful links: Drone rules Botswana

Ethiopia

Before the flight a permit from the Ministry of Communications is necessary ($ 50 for photography and $ 100 for the drone). In addition, you should be sure to recalibrate before each drone flight the compass in Ethiopia because of the volcanic activity and the resultant differences in the magnetic field.

Maximum altitude: 150 meters / 500 feet

Ghana

Since September 2016 all copter owners must register their equipment in Ghana. You need the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority if you want to bring you drone into the country or if you want to buy a drone in Ghana. Before your trip to Ghana you should contact the CAA. Pilots without registration can go to jail up to 30 years.

Helpful links: CAA Ghana, Draft of the new rules, Quartz

Kenya

In Kenya drones are considered prohibited. If you want to operate a drone in Kenya, you need a permission by the Ministry of Defense and the aviation authority (KCAA). Drones are confiscated when entering the country and stored until you leave Kenya.

Helpful links: Press release of the KCAA with a contactClicking with purpose, eTN

Madagascar

Since March 2015 you must apply for a permit if you want to use a drone in Madagascar. Only indoors you may fly without permission.

Helpful links: ACM, ACM: Decision

Morocco

Since March 2015, the government has banned the import of drones for security reasons. Companies may use drones in Morocco only with a special permit. The private use is however completely prohibited. Some readers have reported that authorities seize drones at the airports.

Helpful links: Morocco World News

Namibia

According to a report published in May 2015, new laws are being adopted. Until then, a maximum altitude of 150 feet applies.

Maximum altitude: 45 meters / 150 feet
Helpful links: allAfrica

Rwanda

All drones must be registered in Rwanda before the flight. This registration can be done only by citizens. If you’re planning to fly in Rwanda with your copter, then you need a local contact person in whose name the drone is registered. All other rules are very transparent explained on the website of the Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority. Some of these requirements include the maximum distance between pilots and drone of 300 meters and the labeling of the UAV.

Maximum takeoff weight of the UAV for private flights: 25 kilograms
Conditions for commercial drone flights: no distinction between private and commercial use
Maximum altitude:
 unknown
Frequency provisions for FPV:
unknown  
Helpful links: FAQ on drone registration

Zimbabwe

As far as I know, Zimbabwe is currently under the legislation process. Nevertheless, it was previously known that you need to register your drone.

Helpful links: Techzim

South Africa

In South Africa, a drone can fly up to 500 meters from the pilots.

Maximum takeoff weight of the UAV for private flights: 7 kilograms
Conditions for commercial drone flights: For commercial flights many conditions must be met. Please check the link below.
Maximum altitude: drone can fly as high as the highest object in 300 meters’ radius or a maximum of 120 meters – what counts is the lower height
Frequency provisions for FPV: unknown
Helpful links: Safe Drone

Tanzania

The import of drones is permitted in Tanzania. However, it is not permitted to fly over national parks.

Helpful links: TANAPA

As it stands, the drone laws in Africa are very conservative. In many countries, however, there is still no regulation or is not transparent understandable for foreigners. It can only be hoped that the rules will ease in the future.

Have you had experience with a drone in Africa? Then we talk about it in the comments!
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