Over the past ten years, drone technology has gradually grown more accessible to the general public and visitors. The majority of drones come equipped with high-quality cameras that may be utilized to take stunning aerial photos and films. Governments all across the world are concerned about the potential for misuse of drone technologies as they grow more affordable and commonplace, particularly if they fall into the wrong hands. When it comes to permitting drones inside national parks, African wildlife authorities have become extremely rigorous. Due to the fact that drones were initially intended to be used for surveillance, military and other security organizations worldwide keep an eye on how they are being used.
For a variety of reasons, national parks all around the world often do not permit drone use by visitors. They are concerned about the effects of drones flying above designated wildlife protection areas since seeing them could scare out wild creatures. In one instance, wildebeest were about to cross a significant river during their yearly migration when they were startled by a drone. They were unable to cross the river because of the panic that was brought on by the drone’s strange sight and sound. If they had been more numerous, there might have been a stampede that resulted in drowning.
Using drones in Uganda and Rwanda
Like many African nations, Rwanda and Uganda have a law that forbids tourists from taking any actions that can harm animals. The quality of your safari was harmed because the drone’s buzzing noise could make wild animals run away or become upset. Your actions may have an impact on other passengers as well, especially if they miss a crucial wildlife sighting.
Using drones in Rwanda – Laws and Permits
Drones can be imported and used outside national parks in Rwanda for as long as one has a permit. Once one gets a permit, they must be prepared to follow certain laws and regulations including:
Respecting the privacy of others when flying the drown
Avoiding using the drown in airports
Avoiding using drone in places with large crowds
Avoiding flying drones in military and government facilities
Note: Only permanent residents and citizens of Rwanda can apply for permits or register a drone through the Aviation authority in the country. If you are traveling to Rwanda with a drone, you need to go through someone already in the country. You can read more here on how to get a drone permit for both commercial and recreational use outside national parks.
Done use while on a gorilla safari in Rwanda
Can I use a drone in Rwanda for my gorilla trek? No, is the response. The Rwandan government forbids travelers from tracking or viewing mountain gorillas using drones. The park rangers will inform you of the best method to video gorillas without necessarily utilizing drones during the briefing for gorilla trekking. Only conventional cameras are suitable for taking pictures of gorillas. A drone flying above a troop of gorillas might frighten them and make you appear dangerous. Seldom, but potentially if they see you as a threat, gorillas will charge.
Note: One can be arrested by security Agencies in Rwanda and have their equipment confiscated if found with a drone illegally. You don’t want to be found with an illegal drone near a border post, airport, government building, political institution or prison.
Drones in Uganda
Uganda allows drones into the country for both commercial and recreational use as long as it is cleared and a permit is issued. The drone laws and requirements are similar to that of Rwanda but with some differences. One doesn’t need to be a resident or citizen of Uganda to apply directly to the authorities. Travelers can apply for a permit through the Civil Aviation Authority but must also get clearance from the Uganda Defense forces. Like in Rwanda, one needs to apply for the permit at least a month before arriving into the country. Expect to be charged a small fee for the approval. You can visit this website for more details.
Note: Using drones during a gorilla tour in Uganda is strictly prohibited. Immigration officials will be looking out for any drones at border crossing points and the main airports. If they find an illegal drone in your possession, they will confiscate it and hand it back to you only when you are departing the country.