Before I go ahead and tell you if you should bring a drone for a safari in Tanzania, first let me ask you this question, how long ​do you think ​drones have been in existence? ​10​ years? 50 years? 100?

Any idea?

Well, the first drone was created more than 170 years ago when the Austrian military force executed an attack to the Italian city of Venice by using military drones filled with explosives.

Since this attack wasn’t so much successful as some drones by these Austrian soldiers blew back and dropped the explosives on the Austrian own lines, the technology of drones became less popular and less adopted.

Re-adoption of Drones

You’ll be shocked to find out that drones existed before normal planes.

More than 50 years after the first drone by Austrian soldiers, ​the Wright brothers who were two American aviation pioneers invented, built, and flew the first successful airplane.​

More than 16 years after the first flight by the Wright brothers, Great Britain developed their own aircraft that did not use pilots.

Great Britain achieved this by using Nikola Tesla designs, ​a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, and mechanical engineer. Like today’s drones, this oldest pilotless aircraft was controlled by radio control.

Nevertheless, this project by GB was not much success ​so they immediately abandoned it​. This was​ after ​Great Britain troops had made ​several attempts to use the drone to counter German Zeppelins ​with no success.

In fact, the British Military perceived UAV technology as something with a limited military vehicle. ​For them, UAV technology was nothing but a failed project, they couldn’t be more wrong!

Americans Create Their Drone after British Failure

A year after the British Military failed to bring the best out of their UAV technology efforts, Americans went on to develop the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane which showed encouraging results during its test.

Kettering Bug, which was the best version of the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane was developed in 1918 just after World War 1.

From then throughout to World War 2 and the cold war, drone technology experienced several advancements in technology but as per Dronethusiast​s;

UAV technologies were largely seen as unreliable and expensive novelties – nowhere near as reliable as the exciting new innovations in manned aircraft like the Flying Fortress and the SR-71 Blackbird.

Israel Brings Drones Technology into Life

It wasn’t before 1982 that Israel employed UAV technology alongside manned aircraft to defeat the Syrian navy with greater success while experiencing a very minimal loss in the process.

While the UAV technology by Israel Air Force was not anything new, they excelled in refining the drone technology by making their operations more successful with slight damage. This inspired the International interest in UAVs and from then, the rest is history.

Drone History Timeline

1830’s to 1840s – Austrian Soldiers use unmanned balloons filled with explosives to attack the city of Venice

1903 – Wright Brothers First Flight, the first successful manned aircraft was invented

1916 – Great Britain develops the first pilotless aircraft only for the project to be scrapped as the British Military considered unmanned aerial vehicles less potential.

1918 – Americans develops The Kettering Bug, a more advanced drone version

From World War 2 to the 1970s – Drones are used in WW2, Cold War but still, the technology ​is​ considered unreliable and expensive innovation that was nowhere effective as manned aircraft technology.

1982 – The Israel Air Force breathes a new life into drone technology after employing UAV technology alongside manned aircraft to destroy the Syrian fleet with greater effect.

From 2006 – Starting non-military drones era. The non-military uses here were mainly for wildfire fighting, spraying pesticides on farms, and others

2013 – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces that the company was considering using drones as a delivery method, ​this trigger​s the public’s interest in drone technology.

2015 – 2016 Federal Aviation Administration (FVA) issues a total of 4100 commercial drone permits. Note that, from 2006 to 2014 there were only 16 commercial drone permits were requested.

Alright, I am worn out and that’s all I have got for now about the history of drones. Now, there’s no better moment to tell you whether you should bring your drone for a safari in Tanzania or not than now.

Is it permitted to bring your drone for Safari in Tanzania?

As per Tanzania’s Civil Aviation Authority, drones are allowed in Tanzania, and flying them is completely legal. However, someone should ensure he complies with all the necessary drone regulations in the country.

While very few travelers bring drones for a safari in Tanzania, if you decide you’re going to bring one, there are clear regulations set by the authority to help you have the drone experience with no complications, neither penalties.

Drones Regulations for a Tanzania safari

To put you on the right side, I have prepared everything you need to know from Tanzania National Parks Authority. These are the hands-down​ ​procedures and guidelines for drones operations in the parks;

Drones Permits for Safari in Tanzania

First and foremost,​ ​be informed that Tanzania national parks (TANAPA) do not allow anyone to enter ​the parks ​with​ ​drones let alone use them!

The only exception is when you ​have​ a permit, and that is obtained from the following authorities;

  • Filming board of Tanzania
  • Permanent Secretary Ministry of defence
  • Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA)
  • Conservation Commissioner-Tanzania National Parks

Let’s now see the frequently asked Questions about Drone for Safari in Tanzania

Should you apply for the Permit from all the above authorities or one is enough?

Unfortunately, the one authority is not enough, if you’d like to bring your drone ​with you ​in your Tanzania safari you’re required to apply for a permit from each of the above authorities.

So the permit applications should be made to the Ministry of defense, Filming board, and TCAA before taking the permit copies to Conservation Commissioner-Tanzania National Parks for final approval.

What is the validity of the Permit?

While TANAPA has the right to immediately revoke the permit, it’ll remain valid as long as all conditions are ​followed.

Is there any penalty if I fail to adhere the Drones regulations?

Absolutely, the first penalty, if you fail to ​follow the regulations if you use your drone for a Tanzania trip, is that the drone is going to be confiscated.

After your drone is confiscated, you will also get fined a minimum of USD100 per offense.

I am I allowed to take the final production at home?

Not before you submit a copy of a final film to the office of the conservation commissioner for non-commercial use.

Is there any pilot license required?

For leisure and sports use which falls in your purpose of bringing your drone for a safari in Tanzania, the pilot license is not required. However, the drone for private and commercial uses requires a pilot license.

Is there anything else I should know about Drones?

Exactly, my friend, flying drones in the park​s​ require you to;

  • Operate your drone not less than 50 meters from the ground.
  • To fly your drone on your Tanzania safari you must ensure that there is no presence of other unrelated tourists.
  • You should report to the chief park warden before commencing any drone activity within the park
  • No drone should operate in absence of the supervision of park personnel
  • Ranger service fees must be paid during the operation. This doesn’t include the regular park fees.
  • You’re required to pick and drop the park personnel (ranger) at the authorized point before and after completing the operation
  • If you want to fly a drone in the Serengeti National Park, you must not do it during the crossing.
  • You should never fly the drone in the surroundings of a property, only if the owner of the property has given approval for the operation.

Conclusion

Tanzania is a lovely place to bring your drone for a safari and enjoy taking memorable photos in the sky.

But, you should remember, there are regulations you must respect for safe and lawful flight. I hope in this guide I have given you anything you need to know before bringing your drone for a safari in Tanzania.

Should you need more information, you can visit the Tanzania National Parks website and find more information about drones in Tanzania.​​