WATCH: ‘Respect the rules of each country’ say netizens after traveller gets flagged for entering Tanzania with a drone

Thinking of getting aerial footage like this of Zanzibar, think twice because you need permission if you’ll be flying a drone. Picture: Unsplash

Thinking of getting aerial footage like this of Zanzibar, think twice because you need permission if you’ll be flying a drone. Picture: Unsplash

Published Apr 22, 2024


Safari guide and travel company owner, Curteis Roberts, learned the hard way that when it comes to travelling with drones, always make sure that you have a permit for your equipment.

According to Roberts, his bag was flagged at Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar, Tanzania, because he had a drone in his possession.


♬ original sound - Experience Safaris

The traveller and entrepreneur took to social media platform, TikTok, to share his frustration over having his bag and its contents opened up and searched.

“So this is Zanzibar Airport. They flagged my bag and they didn’t tell me what was inside the bag that they were going to take out and inspect.

“This lady started digging through my bag and she takes out the drone and she wants to confiscate the drone because I don’t have a permit from TCAA,” said Roberts.

Following this discovery, Roberts said that he was never notified by anyone from the country about its rules for travelling with equipment such as a drone.

“Honest to God, I would’ve had a permit if someone told me. No one told me. I’ve been to Mauritius, I’ve been to Maldives, I’ve been to Madagascar, I’ve been to Mozambique. I take drones with me everywhere. No one ever asks for a permit.

“You’re the first country that’s ever asked for a permit,” said the seasoned traveller. The response from the customs official was simply, “This is our law”.

According to Focus East Africa Tours, in order to fly a drone in Tanzania, approval from the TCAA is required by filling out a form; and foreigners must obtain permission from the Ministry of Defense and the National Service in order to fly a drone in that country. A licence from the Tanzanian Film Board is also required.

Roberts’ video, ‘Warning ⚠️ All Tanzania and Zanzibar Travellers, says, “They dug through my bag and took my drone. the permit is $100” has sparked an online conversation, with social media users advising travellers, including Roberts, to make sure that they familiarise themselves with the country’s laws before embarking on their journey.

Commenting on this, @puseletso_mogano, said: “Pay for the permit and get your drone. Every country has its own rules.”

Another TikTok user, @margitoroszijenkins, said: “Even in SA there are rules. If you Google drone Tanzania it immediately tells you a permit is needed 😄”

@chussey1 responded: “Hey bro follow the law Tanzania 🇹🇿 hakuna matata follow the law take your drone permit is very important 🙏 bro there’s nothing to complain there even if you’ve been in whole world 🌍.”

Whilst @deusdedithkazungu said: “even us Tanzanian citizens must have a permit to operate drones. it's ok to say you were not well prepared or it's a human error but that's a law here.”