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Validating an EASA licence in South Africa? Route to Kenya?

I’m bringing a C182 from S.Africa (Wonderboom FAWB) to Nairobi Wilson, almost certainly with a ferry pilot as P1 (otherwise insurance elusive).

Has anyone recent experience with validating an EASA licence in S.Africa? I’m aiming on a few hours before exporting, and it would be useful to have the hours in my logbook. I have a Kenyan PPL. S.African student licence as a backstop.

Advice on the route would be appreciated; one idea:

FAPI/ FVCP 375nm 3hrs; FVCP/Club Makolola 290nm 2.3hrs; Club M/HTDO 473nm 3.8hrs; HTDO/HKNW 298nm 2.3hrs

Avgas could be a problem in Zimbabwe I understand.

Thanks in advance.

I do have experience. Validation information is found here:

Basically, you need to do a theory exam in South African Air Law and a check ride. The validated license is VFR only. There is also an IFR validated license, but the road to get that is more complicated and time-consuming. You need to have some C182 hours in your logbook before starting the flight(s) from Wonderboom to Nairobi. Alternatively, you need to get a familiarization training done, which will complicate things as some schools think that you cannot add a rating for an aircraft (yes, that is how it works over there, not just the class rating) on top of your validated SA pilot license.

AVGAS is available in Zimbabwe through a company called Puma. However, be aware that the situation in Zimbabwe is not very stable at the moment politically as well as economically, so make sure you do your fuel planning well.

I would not fly direct to Harare on a 3 hours flight, but clear customs/immigration earlier in Zimbabwe thus shortening the leg.

EHRD, Netherlands

Up until last week, there was no way you could clear customs at Wonderboom. You would have to fly to Lanseria (FALA) first or (better) clear customs at Polokwane Int’l out of SA. They have AVGAS as well. A friend of mine mentioned to me last week that they are working on a customs/immigration office there at Wonderboom. Anyways, fly to Polokwane, do your customs there, refuel and fly to Harare. I do not have a lot of experience flying in Kenya, so better to get some help for that part from someone else. I would not fly legs longer than 3 hours so you have some spare fuel. You might encounter a headwind or something else and you need some reserves where possible and if you can arrange.

EHRD, Netherlands

A useful resource for fuel availability in Southern Africa is
Not all the contact details are current but it’s a start. It’s generally best to call and speak with someone, as well as making email contact.

We recently (mid-November) routed from Kruger (FAKN) to Nairobi (HKNW) via Harare (FVCP) and Lilongwe (FWKI). Avgas was available at Charles Prince from Zuva ( ). Initially we couldn’t get Zuva on the phone, but a very helpful lady at Guthrie Aviation was able to confirm that avgas was available. Both ATC and Immigration at CP were friendly and efficient, and once again it’s best to call ahead first. We parked overnight and it was all easy and uneventful.

Lilongwe was a good tech stop; smart apron, immediate avgas bowser on arrival (pre-arranged with Puma Energy, we paid by Visa card). ATC did not have our flight plan and initially said I’d have to cross to ground-side to file at the Control office – which I did not want to do as that meant passports, immigration etc. So they kindly sent a man over to the aircraft who took the FPL details and the landing fees, and we were away within a few minutes. Africa is full of surprises!


FVCP fuel contact details (Harare): [email protected], duty manager’s phone number: +263 718 334 368

Last Edited by AeroPlus at 05 Feb 08:30
EHRD, Netherlands

I had my PPL validated in South Africa in 2014. Needed to fill a form, provide copy of my PPL, passport and last page of logbook. There was no theoretical knowledge test that I remember. Also no checkride. Sorry I don’t have more details, it was handled by a local aeroclub.

Last Edited by loco at 06 Feb 06:50

@loco: I might very well have been a lot easier in 2014, but not anymore. I have only been dealing with foreign pilot license validations in South Africa since 2016 on a regular (monthly) basis purely for my own foreign clients that are about to join one of my flying tours over there and deal directly with the South Africa CAA licencing office, so should know by now how it works. I don’t process other pilot licenses but am more than willing to help point in the right direction.

Last year, the SA CAA added an additional requirement: a formal letter from your own CAA stating that your license is current. Forget to provide this letter and you will not get your foreign license validated in South Africa!

Last year September, I helped a pilot to convert his EASA license and he forgot to sign the registration form. All the rest was there, notary signed and at the SA CAA. You would think that you could easily fix that missing signature on a simple registration form by faxing them a signed form or sending a scanned copy of it by e-mail, but no. It needs to be the original application form and signed in black and not with a blue pen and they need to receive the paper document.

So, there are basically 2 ways to go about it. You can show up at a flight school in the Johannesburg area and go through the validation process. Then allow for some time to get the documents processed at the SA CAA office in Midrand. This way you can’t get it done in one day but would have to allow for some extra time = day(s) to get the paperwork processed and your validated license in your hands. Alternatively, you can get the paperwork processed beforehand and have your SA validated license waiting for you at a flight school when you arrive in South Africa. Now you still have to do the Air Law theory exam and the check ride, but if you pass both, the SA license will be handed out to you instantly after the check ride and you are ready to go.

Allow a few months for proper processing of the paperwork if you opt for getting the paperwork processed beforehand and follow the list of what needs to be supplied in documents that I shared a bit earlier in this thread to the letter. Also, make sure you pass the theory exam or you will have to wait for about a week before you are allowed to do that computer test again.

Things don’t always work in an efficient way in Africa. In October I supplied paperwork for a European pilot to the South African CAA. The license was there but the country of origin on the provided SA license was Cuba! So, they make mistakes, it is difficult to get to correct instantly, to get them on the phone or to respond and you need to figure out how to get things done over there.

EHRD, Netherlands

Seriously useful information, guys – much appreciated.

I just can’t afford the time to get the SA PPL, and the a/c’s current insurance insists on a PPL, rather than a Student PPL to be a named pilot, even with an instructor, so familiarisation will have to wait until arrival in Kenya. Getting validation of a UK-issued CAA licence can be painful, and 13 weeks for licence replacement is routine.

Investigating insurance cover in Kenya has been interesting. Local quotes are 3 times UK annual cost for 20% of 3rd Party cover ($1M rather than $5M), and our UK insurer has offered to cover. I guess the small print needs microscopic study.

@AeroPlus – PM sent…

Just been doing a bit more research. If contact with the UK CAA is not necessary (i.e. get my EASA PPL and logbook certified) then validation may be the answer. I’ve heard some outfits can do it in a couple of days, inc. a check ride.

Still investigating….

Beware the UK CAA !! FYI, to release information to another CAA, the UK CAA need your consent. This means, that you need to fill in a form and, of course, pay them some money. Some years ago, they then quoted 10 working days to turn that around. Now, with pilots leaving in droves for other countries due to Brexit, I wouldn’t be surprised if this process took much, much longer, as FCL by all accounts are swamped.

If you have another license (FAA, etc), then validate that one. Much easier (well, unless the government is shut down, of course….)

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