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Want to bring a drone on your holiday in Tanzania's National Parks? This is what you need to know.

Find out the three most important permits you need in order to get permission to fly your drone inside Tanzania's National Parks.

drone shot of Shira Plateau on Mt. Kilimanjaro
Drone shot on Shira Plateau, Mt. Kilimanjaro

Hi Everybody!


Welcome to the first of many blog articles about drone use in Tanzania’s national parks. Although there is a lot of information on the internet about this subject, as a drone service provider who specializes in acquiring permits on behalf of our clients, we figured it would be best to share our experience. Just for context, this blog will focus on tourists wishing to bring small consumer drones to Tanzania for media (photography & videography) purposes.


So, today’s blog is about drone use in Tanzania’s national parks. Before we jump into the rules and regulations, we would like you to picture the following scenario and hold that thought until we circle back to it towards the end of this post:


You are on holiday in the Serengeti, right in the heart of the great migration, waiting patiently as a pride of lions prepare to hunt. You hear a buzzing sound, look up and see about 50 drones in the air. Quite a buzz kill hey?


Now back to our main topic. Drones have revolutionized photography and videography by providing a unique aerial perspective which has allowed creators to tell compelling and showcase environments in ways that were once reserved for big-budget productions.


Tanzania is blessed with spectacular, award-winning natural and cultural attractions ranging from the snow-capped peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro to the endless plains of the Serengeti, which attracts millions of tourists from around the world. We’ve now seen a growing number of tourists wishing to bring their drones to capture aerial images and videos their holiday in Tanzania.


It’s important to note that although drones are a widely accepted technology for media purposes, the evolving nature of drone technology and its potential impact on various areas, including national security and public safety, contribute to the complexity of regulatory frameworks not just here in Tanzania, but around the world.


The Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA) published its “PROCEDURES & GUIDELINES FOR DRONE OPERATIONS IN THE PARKS” so as to inform people of the requirements for drone use in the national parks.


From a permits perspective, to summarize the above document, there are 3 main permits that are required for TANAPA to grant you permission to use your drone in the national parks:


1. Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) Permit

As per TCAA’s RPAS Regulatory Fees and Charges, it costs $100 to register a Class 1 drone and $100 to get a Class 1 Operations Permit, so a total of $200. It’s important to note that according to the Civil Aviation (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) Regulations of 2018, foreigners are not eligible to own a drone in Tanzania. Foreigners can only use their drones in Tanzania if they apply through a TCAA authorized drone service provider who will serve as a “host” and enable the foreigner to obtain a temporary operations permit for the duration of the tour/project. Notice Kilimanjaro is a TCAA authorized drone service provider who has helped many travel content creators, filmmakers and productions companies acquire temporary operations permits. For more information regarding TCAA drone requirements, application forms, etc. click this LINK.


2. Ministry of Defense and National Service (MODANS)

Although a MODANS permit is free of charge, a military officer will be assigned to accompany your tour and act as an observer. Sounds intimidating hey? Well, contrary to any preconceived notions, these officers often play a supportive role, offering guidance on safety protocols and helping to mitigate potential risks. Their presence is aimed at fostering a secure environment for drone users and the general public, rather than impeding the creative or recreational aspects of drone use. Many of our clients find that these officers are quite friendly and approachable. You will be required to pay the officer's per diem and cover all his travel expenses during the tour though.


3. Film Permit

A film permit is fairly easy to acquire compared to the other permits above. Foreigners can apply for one directly. The most important thing to note when applying for a film permit is the time frame. It costs $1,000 for a permit if you apply more than a month before arrival. However, if you apply within one month of your arrival you will be required to pay a fast-track fee of $3,000. See the FILM PRODUCTION PERMIT APPLICATION FOR FOREIGNERS form for more information about fees and requirements for obtaining a film permit.


Sounds complicated right? Especially if you just want to bring your tiny drone on holiday and get some cool aerial shots of your experience to post on Instagram. We now take you back to the “50-drones-in-the-air” scenario we mentioned in the beginning. While obtaining permits for flying drones within Tanzania's national parks may appear complex and potentially excessive, the stringent process serves a crucial purpose: to ensure that only individuals with genuine and responsible intentions can operate drones in these pristine environments. The complexity of the permitting system acts as a filter, preventing an influx of drones that could disturb the natural habitats of wildlife and compromise the overall visitor experience. By imposing hurdles in the permit acquisition process, authorities aim to maintain the sanctity of the parks and protect both the fauna and the privacy of fellow tourists. This careful screening helps strike a balance between enabling drone use for legitimate purposes, such as conservation efforts or non-intrusive photography and filming, while avoiding the adverse impact of widespread and unregulated drone activity within these ecologically sensitive areas.


We hope you found the information on this blog post useful. If you would like to know more about drone use regulations and procedures in Tanzania please feel free to email us at info@noticekilimanjaro.co.tz

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