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South Africa drone no-fly zones

No-Drone

To fly or not to fly…

Knowing where to fly and where not to fly can be challenge. Most hobby pilots rely on applications to find drone no-fly zones. For Europe and North America they are very accurate. Where apps are lacking are the less developed parts of the world, and this still includes South Africa. The best I found for South Africa so far is Altitude Angel available for both, iOS and Android.

But for planning flights offline, especially for use in apps like Litchi or Dronelink, PC based online apps are often better. There are few maps that can assist in defining where it’s safe and legal to fly in South Africa. Same as the iOS and Android apps, they are also not always accurate. The best source is SACAA unfortunately when it comes to the actual lists of the sites, documents are not always complete. Aeronautical maps are accurate – but again, they are difficult to read for non-professional.

Web based applications

Below some sources to look at when planning the trip.

  • Probably most readable of all resources. What it does not include is the FULL list of national/heritage sites. Technically – flying there is possible, but you have to ask for permission which is pretty pricey. The cost is approx. 12 000 ZAR per drone per day, and only registered drones may apply – so it rules out most of the hobbyists. Some of those sites are not actually listed on SACAA document, but if it is a National Park/Reserve you cannot legally fly without permission from SANS Parks (I checked). You may fly on the outside edge, but not beyond the actual boundary. For anyone willing to contact SANparks directly to check this – click here for information and contact details (they do respond).
  • The map below has similar functionalities as the above, but adds balloon/ paragliding/flying clubs and few of the functions, so check the layers. Flying at paragliders and balloon launch sited maybe possible as long as there are no paragliders around and as long as other “no-fly” rules do not apply. This map does not seem to include National Key Points, where hobby flying is also prohibited. Again, as the one above does not list the National Parks, although the major ones do show as no-fly zones.

Google Earth

The final source is the most accurate – it contains aeronautical maps and charts. As mentioned, those can be difficult to read. On the ATNS.co.za website you can find a file (.kmz) that can be overlayed onto Google Earth. You will then see all the info about the airspaces, TMAs, Control Zones etc. This is not an “easy read”, even if you know how to read aeronautical charts . Learning to read them is very useful though. It is also a requirement if you are thinking about RPL qualification so the website can be used as good training tool. Below only link as there is no actual map to embed.

RSA airspaces in 3D

PLEASE NOTE – if you chose not to follow the rules and fly in a no fly zone, you are facing possible fine or even arrest and risking confiscation of your gear. Depending on experience, you may (or may not) be causing danger to other aircrafts or nature.

1 thought on “South Africa drone no-fly zones

  1. Awesome site. Going to use info here much At least do I have my RSA Fly again
    Good work
    Sias

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