We love drones.  We love the tech behind them.  We love flying them.  And we love the beautiful shots we get from them.  For us, a drone is not just one of the tools we use in our day job.  It is an exciting part of our lifestyle.

It is for this reason that drones are becoming a popular toy for hobbyists.  Over the 2016 holiday season, drone sales in South Africa soared.  And we are expecting the same for this year.

But what type or brand of drone to get, what to expect to pay and where to go buy one can be daunting if you are not familiar with the industry.  So, if you are looking to buy a drone for yourself, or someone else, here is a guide to help you get started.

Start Small

If you have never actually come into contact with a drone, then it might be a good idea to start small with a micro drone. These drones don’t have the same camera and GPS features of larger drones, but they are super fun to fly.  Although small and lightweight, they are very durable, so they will live through all the crash-landings expected from a first-timer.  They are also harmless should you crash it into something or someone.  We recommend these micro drones as they will teach you all the flying skills you will need in order to take a larger drone to the skies.

Expect to pay:  R1000 or less.

The brands we recommend: Any brand will do, as most of them are made in the same factory.  So, go for the one you like the look of.

Move up a notch

For those who have bigger ambitions in the drone department, you can look at the middleweight drones.  These drones have a GPS system and a camera, so are great for getting some aerial family shots.  They have also been made for the consumer (rather than the professional) market so are still fairly easy to us.  But we do recommend that you put in some practice away from people, buildings, trees or telephone wires.  They have some great features for those who are interested in the tech side of things and are fun to fly.

Expect to pay: Up to R10 000

The brands we recommend: We are excited about the DJI Spark this year (and are holding thumbs we might find them in our Christmas stockings).  It is small, compact and works with hand signals.  The Walkera x350 is also a great buy as it has customisable features, certain automatic functions and offers good value for money.

Go big

The next step is to go for the prosumer drones – the ones that are more advanced than those aimed at consumers, but just under the professional versions.  These have the full-house features, so you will get far more out of them in terms of video or photo quality, flying ability and GPS functions.  But remember, that they do require skill and practise to fly.

Expect to pay: R20 000 or more. The price will completely depend on the brand, model and function of the drone.

The band we recommend:  Our favourite for this type of drone will be the DJI Phantom series.  Other great brands to look at are Parrot, Walkera, Yuneec, Autel and GoPro.

Where to find them

You won’t find a drone store by walking into your local shopping centre.  So here are a few local and credible websites to look at for your drone purchase:

Something to keep in mind

Although you don’t need any licence to fly a drone for non-commercial reasons, you do need to follow the rules for flying a drone.  There are rules about how high you can fly, what you can fly over, where you can fly and how close you can get to obstacles. You need to know these rules as they are for your safety and for the safety of those around you.  Plus, it could save you from crashing and destroying your drone in the process.

If you are feeling very festive…

You could even go for a Christmas themed drone 😊

Aerialshots is a full-service video production company that specialises in drone videography and photography.  For all your drone shot needs, contact us on or visit