South African National Parks (SANParks) would like to remind the public that flying of unmanned aerial vehicles which are commonly known as drones is not permitted in any National Park irrespective of what the purpose may be. This practice is prohibited in terms of NEMA Protected Areas Act which states that “it is illegal to fly below 2,500 feet above the highest point of any national park, with any aircraft/drone without the express permission of the Management Authority of the particular National Park” i.e. SANParks; and therefore they are legislated protected areas with restricted airspace, which make them no-fly zone for all unauthorized aircraft systems.
“In a joint operation recently, South African Police Service and the Park’s Protection Services arrested a day visitor for illegally alighting out of a vehicle and flying a drone in the Kruger National Park. We would like to warn such people and other drone users that should they be found flying them in the Park at any time, they will be arrested on the spot and their equipment will be confiscated”, said KNP’s General Manager, Communications & Marketing, William Mabasa.
Not only is this a contravention of the NEMA Protected Areas Act, but there are also restrictions in terms of the aerial filming rights and therefore an infringement of SANParks’ filming/photography policy.
“Flying such aircraft illegally in the Park can negatively impact on the wellbeing of animals as well as the experience of other visitors; to such an extent that it can end up disturbing and stalking animals. We would like to thank the guests who reported the recent incident to the nearest Section Ranger. We encourage all law abiding citizens to continue to report such incidents to the Emergency Call Centre numbers 013 735 4064/013 735 0197/076 801 9679 so that these people can be caught in the act”, concluded Mabasa.