Drone Laws in Kenya

Flying drones in Kenya

If you want to fly to Kenya with your own camera copter, you have to overcome some hurdles.

After a long back and forth, Kenya has now approved a drone law and the previous ban has been lifted.

But it looks like it is not that easy for travelers to take their drone into the country and use it there. For example, drones can only be imported with the approval of the KCAA. The authority must also be informed about the export of a registered drone.

In Kenya, only citizens, residents, businesses and governments are eligible to own a drone. This would exclude foreign tourists and the only option left would be to rent a drone locally. However, the law also provides for a 30-day temporary permit that may be suitable for travelers. We are interested to see how the law will be implemented in practice.

Drones now have to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and a certificate will be issued. According to the law, drones should be identifiable, which means the registration data will likely have to be attached visibly.

Overview: Drone rules in Kenya

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, after registration or approval
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, after registration or approval
Maximum Altitude:400 Foot (121,9 Meter) in uncontrolled airspace.
Is drone insurance mandatory? Yes, for private and commercial drone flights. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Does the drone need a badge?Yes.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? Yes.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people
Contact information

KCAA: [email protected]

Resources:KCAA

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Additional rules for drone pilots in Kenya

Kenya categorizes drones according to the risk of the flights:

  • Category A: low risk (up to 25 kg)
  • Category B: medium, normal risk
  • Category C: high risk

A Remote Pilot License is necessary for flights in categories B and C. In category A, registration, a permit certificate and compliance with the following rules and safety distances are sufficient.

Keep a distance of 50 meters from people, animals, vehicles, vessels, public roads, buildings and structures.

There is a 10 km safety distance around category C, D, E and F aerodromes and 7 km around category A and B aerodromes.

Drone flights may only take place within visual line of sight and in good weather conditions. Night flights are only allowed with prior approval.

Flights over private property are not permitted without prior approval. Crossing international borders is also prohibited.

Drone pilots must not have consumed alcohol less than 8 hours before the flight. The limit is 0.04 grams per 100 milliliters. Flying is also not allowed under the influence of drugs and other substances.

Commercial drone use in Kenya

If you want to use your drone for commercial purposes, you need a Remote Aircraft Operators Certificate, which must be applied for at least 90 days in advance.

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Kenya to the best of our knowledge. We cannot guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Kenya!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

  • DPEREZGD | 01.05.2018

    Hello Francis, did you finally get an answer? Did you have any problems with Customs at the Airport? Thank you for your response and also congratulate you for the good blog you have. Greetings.

    • Francis Markert | 29.06.2018

      Hi,
      Sorry, I got no feedback so far. Best, Francis

  • Josey Mras | 23.06.2018

    Hey, i’m a blogger from Kenya and i agree with you that it’s so hard to get a drone in Kenya. I am a creative but the channels of getting and flying a drone in Kenya are so complex.
    It’s high time the revisited the regulations to accommodate all of us (vloggers too)

    • Francis Markert | 29.06.2018

      Absolutely!

  • John | 13.07.2018

    Am a drone pilot based in Kenya. A Kenyan by nationality, bought my drone before the laws were enacted currently applied for the licence. Though not out am still flying my drone since I was given a go ahead by the ministry as we await processing of the licence

    • Simon Ngotho, FAA Licensed Remote Pilot Instructor. | 23.07.2018

      I’m a Kenyan Born and an FAA Licensed Commercial Remote Pilot Instructor and I have been doing operations all over USA. I teach in most Colleges and have been preparing Remote Pilots obtain their FAA Licenses. However, other African countries have started operations including transportation of Emergency Supplies including Search and Rescue using Drones.
      What’s causing these delays in Kenya? Can we have Guidelines as we wait to get policies in place?

      At least we are moving in the right direction but after reading the current Rules published in the Kenya Gazette dated on February 7th, 2018, the pricing schedule is rather unacceptable and needs thorough input from the Parliament otherwise Kenya will continue lagging behind in this Multi-Billion Dollar Industry!

      Please Note: Sky-View Consultants – Kenyan Owned, USA Based Firm has been offering Remote Pilot Drone Classes in Most Colleges in USA and is opening a branch in Kenya starting January 2019. You can Book your classes Now by calling +001-508-579-3178 or emailing [email protected]. I can also be contacted through my Linkedin Profile – Simon Ngotho

      Keep on Keeping us informed! Great Work Francis!

  • Joost | 19.07.2018

    Hi Everyone,

    Great forum first off all. Second related to our topic here, Kenya seemed to have revised the regulations related to drones. Has anybody had any expirience since? What about flying during game drives? Generaly allowed? (Abviously enough distance to any animals so they will not notice any drone prensence)

  • Gio | 07.12.2018

    Dear friends, I am considering a holiday in Kenya next year and I would like to know if and how I can fly my recreational drone (Parrot ANAFI) there.
    I checked the relevant regulations on the Internet but they seem to be out of date.
    I just wrote to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority,Head Office in Nairobi and I received the answers below from which I don’t understand if – as a regulation is presently lacking – I can freely introduce and fly drone in Kenya or not and – in case – which sanctions I should expect.

    Could you please kindly help ?
    Do you have any local contact that could clarify the situation?
    Many thanks and best regards
    ——————————————
    1) “Following the annulment of the Civil Aviation(Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems)Regulations 2017 by the National Assembly, the Authority ,hereby ,is not in a position to process any applications as necessary.
    In the circumstances, the issuance of drone permit and authorization to operate is suspended .”

    2) “The Civil Aviation(Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems)Regulations 2017 governing the management and related operations of Drone was NULLIFIED by the National Assembly, and remains null and void/invalid to that extent todate.”

    

    • David | 09.07.2019

      Hi Gio,
      I received the same email. I’m really confused.

      Can anyone help? Will my drone be confiscated on arrival?

  • Andrew | 15.10.2019

    I just flew into Kenya (8 Oct 2019) and had my drone confiscated. Apparently I will get it back when I leave the country, but am not holding my breath.

    • Drone Traveller Team | 26.10.2019

      Hi Andrew,
      Sorry to hear that! Do you mind us asking what happened? Had you been in contact with the authorities before entering the country?

  • Nick | 06.11.2019

    Hello everyone

    I was wondering if they would still confiscate my drone if I’m trasferring flights and not picking up my luggage?? Any ideas? Thank you,

  • Nick | 22.11.2019

    Hi all, just to update you that if you have a transit via Kenya to another country having the drone with you is not an issue. If you want to entry though Kenya with the drone, this will be certainly confiscated. I had a email confirming this for Civil Aviation Authority in Kenya.

  • Brenda | 22.02.2020

    Hi everyone has anyone been recently there? Are drones still being confiscated? I’m traveling next month and want to make sure before taking it

  • Lilian | 05.03.2020

    Yes. But you do get it back on exit. Don’t carry it.

  • Brian | 06.03.2020

    Yes, drones are still being confiscated as the Regulations still haven’t been passed by parliament.

  • Michael | 29.03.2020

    Is using drone in local small wedding ok ?

  • Heet | 18.04.2020

    So according to this updated Article above, we can now finally travel to Kenya with a drone? Please update. Thanks

    • Drone Traveller Team | 24.04.2020

      Hello,
      We currently have no information about whether it will be possible for foreigners to travel to Kenya with a drone, because only citizens are eligible to own one. The law is relatively new and there may be special permits available but we will have to wait and see until international travel starts back up again.

  • Catie | 14.05.2020

    I’m in Kenya and was looking to buy a drone only to realise that I had to have a registered company which was shocking.

    • Drone Traveller Team | 16.05.2020

      Hello Catie,
      Thank you for your comment! We hadn’t heard about only companies being able to buy a drone. Could you please elaborate on this?

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