Drone Laws in Zimbabwe

Flying drones in Zimbabwe

In this article, we’ll explain the drone laws in Zimbabwe.

For traveling drone owners, Zimbabwe has its own rules for the temporary import of multicopters. You must send an application to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) at least 30 days before entry. To do this, you must provide the following information:

  • Name and address of the owner/pilot of the drone
  • Land in which the drone is already registered
  • Model, serial number, and manufacturer of the copter
  • The weight of the drone
  • Specifications of the drone
  • Purpose of the drone in Zimbabwe
  • Duration of the planned temporary import
  • Details of the planned flights

After getting the approval from the CAAZ, you will also need to obtain a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. These rules apply to foreigners and don’t guarantee flying without any problems.

The citizens of Zimbabwe also have to overcome some hurdles before they can start their copter. Locals always need a Letter of Approval (RPA) from the CAAZ. RPAs are initially valid for one year and can then be issued for a further three years. Above all, for the application, they must demonstrate their piloting skills and show that their aircraft has sufficient safety standards. For commercially available drones, I assume that a Letter of Conformity (usually part of the delivery) is sufficient. The application will incur a fee. Permits are also required for each flight.

Once you’ve mastered the bureaucracy, keep in mind that during copter flights, a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher must always be near.

Overview: Drone rules in Zimbabwe

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, after registration or approval
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, after registration or approval
Maximum Altitude:120 Meter (393,7 Fuß) 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?No.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? Yes.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people

Further rules for drone pilots in Zimbabwe

In most cases, a horizontal distance of up to 500 meters between drone and the pilot is allowed. If you are eligible for extended visual line-of-sight maneuvers, your drone may fly away up to 1,000 meters if a qualified observer keeps their eyes on the drone.

Drone flights at night require approval from the CAAZ.

Each drone must have an altimeter, so you can always observe the current altitude. If your drone does not have this feature, you must abide by the toy drone rules (see below).

To airports, a distance of 5 kilometers (3 miles) must be kept.

From what I understand, Zimbabwe does not distinguish between drone flights for recreational and commercial purposes.

These laws do not apply to toy drones for children unless they are equipped with surveillance equipment (such as a camera). In these cases, you can fly as high as the highest obstacle within a radius of 300 meters. The maximum horizontal distance between the controller and copter is also 500 meters, and you must always have direct visual contact (Restricted Visual Line-of-Sight).

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Zimbabwe 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 Zimbabwe!

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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 several drones like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ or the DJI Mini 3 Pro. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a drone. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!


  • Dennis Webb | 29.03.2018

    Thanks for your useful information. I am a Mavic Pro user from the UK and hope to use it in Zambia later this year. I would value your advice re local rules etc.

    • Francis Markert | 29.06.2018

      Hi Dennis,
      You’re welcome! Unfortunately, I was not in Zambia myself.
      Best regards,

  • Dylan | 10.05.2018

    if i was to go to Zimbabwe without a drone licence or an import thingy, but the drone is for personal use, and also for Botswana? will it be confiscated? what would happen if i cant show proper papers? but its only a (gopro karma) personal drone??

    • Francis Markert | 29.06.2018

      Hello Dylan,
      I got this official statement from the CAAZ: “The drone regulations permit Zimbabwean citizens only to register and operate drones in Zimbabwe. Therefore the drone will be securely kept by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Customs) and released back to the owner on the day of leaving Zimbabwe.”

      On the other hand, no reader has reported problems with entry.
      Best, Francis

  • Michael | 25.07.2018

    I’m thinking of giving a drone to my friends in Zim as a Christmas gift. I’m planning to bring it with me this December when I travel there. Will there be any issues with me bringing it in as a gift?

  • Lukas | 27.08.2018

    Hi Francis,
    thanks a lot for all your valuable articles!

    I am going to travel to Zimbabwe and Botswana (and Johannesburg for the return flight) in September and was hoping to take my Mavic Air with me. But I am slightly confused with the regulations.

    I applied to the CAAZ via Email 31 days in advance of the date I will enter Zimbabwe but from the name this process is just to obtain the permission for the temporary import of an RPA – there is nowhere mentioned that you are then allowed to fly it (within restrictions of course).
    Also I am not sure how the process for obtaining the TIP from the Revenue Authority would look like.

    On top of that the statement from the CAAZ you posted as reply to an earlier comment – “The drone regulations permit Zimbabwean citizens only to register and operate drones in Zimbabwe.” – confuses me even more.

    May I ask you to clarify if at all – and if so under which conditions – a foreigner is allowed to bring, and ideally also fly, a drone in Zimbabwe?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Francis Markert | 26.10.2018

      Hi Lukas,
      I apologize for my late answer. How was it going for you?

      • Lukas | 28.10.2018

        Hi Francis,
        thank you for your reply, even though it came after my trip, it would not have changed anything.

        After some further research I found some information from a local that rules are pretty tight but they are not enforced up to the point where you would not even get a reply to your requests – and in fact this turned out exactly the same for me. No answer at all from any of the offices, neither Zimbabwe nor Botswana.

        In the end I did bring my Mavic Air with me (in hand luggage as you always should) and nobody did even ask one thing or wanted to see it at any point.

        When we were there we stayed in rather small safari Camps, mostly in Private Concession (so outside of the National Park prohibitation) and even though the scenery would have definitely made for some nice shots I ended up not using it at all because I did not want to disturb other safari guests and/or camp staff and also did not want to force anybody (mainly camp manager) into the situation of being afraid to either upset me by forbidding it or upset other guests by allowing it.

        Hope this may be helpful for other travellers!


      • Francis Markert | 01.11.2018

        Hi Lukas,
        Thank you for your explanations! I hope you had a wonderful trip, anyway!

  • Shiri | 23.12.2018

    On my last 2 visits to Zimbabwe I have shown my drone (DJI P4) at the airport. I have flown it in the City and rural areas. Never have I encountered any issues from local authorities.
    Do not fly near crowded areas – unnecessary attention.
    Near Airports is a NO, NO!!!
    National parks with animals is a NO!!
    That was my experience. I will try and apply for a permit going forward – 30 days ahead of time? Hmmm

    • Francis Markert | 07.01.2019

      Good to know. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Jan | 01.02.2019

    I am currently in Zimbabwe and i have a phantom 4. I showde the drone at immigration and ond lady wanted me to see a superior officier. I had a mail from the Zimbabwe aircontrole, that Saïd that there are currently no rules and that flying a drone could not happen. I told here i would not use it in Zimbabwe , but in Botswana. She let us go without further dicussion. I asked the lodge manager if i could fly the drone around the lodge and they Saïd iT was ok. No problem at all. The lodge was only 500 m away from the Victoria Falls. I waited untill all helicopter flights were over (after 16 o clock) and flew the drone several times over the Falls even up to 1000 meters away. Nice shots … no problem.

  • SkyTalk Team | 14.04.2019


    We are SkyTalk and based in Zimbabwe. We launched our blog in March 2019 to track drone developments in Zimbabwe.

    We regularly write on drone regulations in Zimbabwe. The regulations are new (became law in December 2018) and many people are still trying to wrap their heads around them. It is therefore not unusual for even immigration officers not to be aware of latest developments.

    We have done extensive research including reaching out to the Regulator at their head office at the main international airport in Harare (we still maintain close contact with the Regulator as we watch developments).

    You are free to check out our information on our blog skytalk.co.zw

    Hope it helps.

  • Jokha | 26.06.2019

    I will be going to six African countries tour Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda
    Can anyone tell me if it’s ok to take the mavic air drone without any permit letters? My trip is starting in three days!

  • Billy | 13.10.2020

    Hello – can you provide the direct email to contact CAAZ regarding this permit? The only contact info i can see on their website is [email protected] however I do receive a bounce back error.

    Thank you!

  • Ryan Langeveldt | 22.04.2021

    Hello, My name is Ryan and I am a model aircraft builder and pilot under the Harare Aeromodellers Club in zimbabwe. Thank you for the above information

  • Tendai trevor | 03.08.2021

    Ok im trevor based in dubai ,wants to bring dji mavic pro as a gift for my dady was wondering if there are any issues with that.I will be coming for vacation in january to zim harare.I dont know if there r any measures i should take into consideration

    • Drone Traveller Team | 12.08.2021

      Hi Trevor,
      It sounds like you are importing the drone into the country permanently, which might be a different procedure than for travelers. We recommend that you get in touch with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority https://www.zimra.co.zw/ and the Civil Aviation Authority https://www.caaz.co.zw/.

  • Tawanda | 03.01.2023

    I was in Zimbabwe recently and the drone laws are pretty tight. What the article said above is accurate. I just want to reiterate and add a few points
    1. Drone registration is not permission to fly the drone. The registration costs $30 (just for CAAZ to acknowledge you possess a drone).
    2. To fly a drone you have to have a drone licence. This is issued via independent organizations authorized by CAAZ. The cost of the licence at these institutions is a whopping $1,200 (which includes training which you may not need). Its a rip off if you are a recreational user of which some of the best personal use drones cost way less.
    3. To fly in specific areas like parks, you need additional authorization. For example, to fly in the National Parks, you need permission from the Zim Parks offices. Last I checked, they needed the licence above and authorization obtained from the Ministry of Defence. To fly in the areas owned by the National Museums and Monuments, you need additional authorization from them. This means that you have to be aware of who has authority over the space you are about to fly before you do it.

    In summary, while CAAZ has the major say, the drone regulations are still fragmented…there is no one-stop-shop to obtain all the necessary permissions. The cost is prohibitive probably because the country does not yet have surveillance systems for the drone…hence they try to make it a bit difficult for one to fly them in the country.

    While some comments above make it seem like it is easy to bring a drone and fly it in Zim, I suggest you get more info from CAAZ because you can get in trouble for that and end up facing jail time. Otherwise, fly at your own risk.

    Some officials are not aware of the drone laws so they may allow you to fly but its best to do it when you are aware of the consequences. You can take advantage of their lack of knowledge but just be careful where you fly it.

    I hope this helps!

  • Lindsay | 25.01.2024

    Hi is there any update on this? I’m hoping to bring my drone into Zimbabwe (not fly it) but just so I can bring it back into South Africa after and fly it there. Will it be confiscated if not registered? I tried to register but there’s not enough time. Thanks!

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