To fly South African registered aircraft you must have your pilot license validated in accordance with regulations of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). The process involves legal and practical requirements including a written exercise and flight checks done with a flight instructor at a flight school. No government examiners are involved. Both the written test and the check rides are easily accomplished in several hours. As a practical matter the process is done over a span of two or three days. It is not difficult.


A current pilot license from any country can be validated for flight in a South African-registered aircraft. It need not be an FAA license. We have validated JAR, Canadian, Mexican, and other licenses. The validated South African license you receive is valid for five years or until your own national pilot license expires – whichever comes first. Before you arrive in South Africa we'll ask you to send by courier notarized copies of your

  1. pilot license

  2. medical

  3. passport

  4. Certificate of English Language competency (if you are from a non-English speaking country)

  5. log book pages showing logged PIC time-in-type of the aircraft you will fly or an instructor's sign-off for the specific aircraft you will fly

  6. two color passport photos

  7. the signed application form (original, not a scan or photocopy).


  • Recent experience: Pilots are STRONGLY urged to fly with an instructor in the specific type of aircraft you will fly during your safari. You should review air work; soft, short-field and cross-wind landings; and navigation by pilotage. A US instructor's sign-off will satisfy the South African legal requirements for experience in type if you do not have previously logged PIC time in the type.

  • Time-in-Type: Owners and insurers of some aircraft available for Self-Fly Safaris require pilots to have a minimum amount of experience (logged PIC time) in the aircraft. For example, use of a C-210 may require a minimum of 500 hours total time and 50 hours time-in-type to satisfy insurance requirements. A Cessna-182 may require 100 hours total time and 10 in type. We’ll need to know your experience in the specific aircraft you intend to fly. Holders of European pilot licenses should have the specific type aircraft they will fly on safari listed in their licenses (type rating).

  • Type Specific: All pilots must be current in the aircraft they will fly BEFORE arrival in South Africa. Being current in a C-182 does NOT qualify you to fly a C-172; being current in a PA-28-180 does NOT qualify you to fly a PA-28-160, etc.

  • You must be current. Your medical must be up to date and, for FAA licenses, you must have a current BFR.


ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS: You must have and bring with you to South Africa these documents:

  • Pilot license -- private license or higher. A current and valid pilot certificate from any country can be validated.

  • Medical: Current certificate (3rd Class or higher)

  • Pilot log book showing PIC time in the make and model aircraft you will fly on your safari. An alternative to this is an instructor’s endorsement in the type, make and model aircraft you will fly in South Africa. For European and other pilot licenses the specific aircraft type must appear in your license. If your experience in the aircraft you intend to fly is logged in an old logbook, bring the old one, too. Computerized log books can be accommodated. 


Validation exercises: After you arrive in South Africa, you will go through several steps that we refer to as the “license validation process”. This includes several briefings. The Pilot’s Advance Preparation Kit™ includes homework material. Much of the “bookwork” required can be – should be -- accomplished before you arrive.

  • Foreign Pilots Air Law quiz:  a multiple choice, open book, written quiz. Hanks Aero Adventures includes the test in our Advance Kit along with reference materials so you can familiarize yourself with rules and procedures before leaving home. You should complete the written quiz before arrival in SOuth Africa and bring it with you.

  • Flight Check: general-handling and navigation flights with your instructor. Some instructors may combine the handling ride with the cross-country navigational ride.

  • Cross Country Navigational Check: We define a three-stop round-robin cross-country flight. Our Advance Kit contains a chart and planning material allowing you to prepare a simple navigation log for this cross-country routing. A form is included (blank navigation log sheet) for you to prepare.  It is adequate if both you and the instructor can understand it. We will brief you on the route after you arrive. Then fly it with your instructor.


Expeditious handling: Your South African validated license can be processed and issued before you arrive. It will not be valid until you complete the practical elements of the CAA requirements. So, if you plan your Safari departure on a weekend or public holiday when the South African CAA is closed, then the following steps are essential to save valuable time. Hanks Aero Adventures will submit the client’s application to the CAA. It will be ready on your arrival.


The complete application materials are:
1)      Notarized copy of pilot license; and radio license if your pilot license includes one.
2)      Notarized copy of medical Certificate;
3)      Notarized copy of last two pages of your log book;
4)      Notarized copy of the face pages of your passport.

5)      Notarized english language proficiency certificate (if not endorsed on your license).

6)      License Application Form with original signature;

  •  The Foreign Pilot License Application for a Validated License needs to be printed out, signed and returned to us with the                notarized pilot documents. We can fill in the blanks if you do not know the answers.  But we need the original form with the      real signature (not scanned). The form will be sent to you when you book a Self-Fly Safari. 

7)      Two color passport-size photos