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Firearms & ammunition

Firearms & ammunition information


Carriage of firearms on South African Airways


Domestic (within and from the Republic of South Africa)

Departure (Inclusive of International departures)

Firearms may NOT be packed inside checked luggage and must therefore be packed in an appropriate lockable firearm container or case, separate from checked luggage.

Ammunition must be separated from weapons and although permissible to be packed within checked baggage under aviation regulation, SHOULD be packed as a separate piece of checked baggage in a secure lockable container or ammunition case. No ammunition may be packed loosely in checked baggage, or within the same case as firearms.

We strongly recommend that ammunition be packed in lockable cases which can be handed in as loose items at the firearm counters to avoid possible delays during checked baggage screening.

All firearms and ammunition must be declared to the airline check-in agent at the time of check-in. Undeclared firearms and ammunition within checked luggage will result in such baggage being rejected during mandatory checked baggage screening, and will result in the passenger being required to open such baggage for further inspection and safe handling, or the confiscation of such items for further processing and forwarding on a subsequent flight.

Check-in agents will issue the relevant baggage tags and will then direct firearm owners to the appropriate firearm desk for inspection and processing of firearms and ammunition for secure handling to the aircraft.

During the acceptance process at the appropriate firearm desk, the following will be conducted:

  • The owner of the firearm will be required to produce a valid license or temporary import permit for the firearm(s) and ammunition.
  • The owner of the firearm(s) will be required to make and declare the firearm(s) safe and unloaded for carriage.
  • Security staff will request the firearm owner to open his/her checked luggage to verify that ammunition is securely packed and that the total weight of ammunition per license holder does not exceed 5kgโ€™s in weight.
  • The owner of the firearm will be required to complete a firearm register for handover to security staff, who will ensure the secure loading of such items.
  • The staff at the firearm desk will send a pre-advise notification message to the receiving station, advising them of details and loading positions of firearms.
  • Checked baggage containing ammunition will be affixed with a special tag, indicating that such bag was already subjected to inspection, to avoid screening authorities from delaying or confiscating such bag for further security controls.

Handguns (Pistols, revolvers, etc)

A R250 handling fee is raised for the carriage of handguns. Payment will only be accepted in the form of credit cards or cash at the firearm desk or allocated firearms acceptance area. These firearms will be processed at the firearm desk for safe carriage in the hold of the aircraft. There will be no charge for handguns carried with hunting equipment if packed in the same case as hunting rifles.

Rifles (in gun case / rifle bags)

Rifles must be processed via the firearm desk for safe carriage and may form part of your free baggage allowance. Thereafter the excess baggage allowance will be raised as applicable.


A maximum of 5kg securely boxed ammunition per passenger will be permitted for carriage either as a separate piece of baggage or within checked baggage in the hold of the aircraft. Screening authorities may however delay baggage containing ammunition, if such ammunition was not declared at check-in and is therefore not marked with an appropriate tag indicating that such ammunition was already security inspected.


Upon arrival passengers are required to proceed to the allocated firearm desk to collect firearms.

Checked baggage containing ammunition may be collected at the normal airport baggage carousel.

Ammunition handed in separately may be collected at the firearm desk.

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International (All SAA flights departing from outside the Republic of South Africa, arriving in South Africa)

Standard legislation pertaining to the carriage of weapons and ammunition for each destination will apply. It is therefore the travellerโ€™s responsibility to verify and ensure compliance with local laws on the possession and carriage of weapons.


Passengers should not pack any firearms within checked baggage. Firearms must be packed in suitable lockable firearm cases or bags.

Where possible, declare firearms and request the airline to place a firearm identification tag on such items, as this will assist in the correct loading and delivery handling on SAA flights arriving in South Africa.

Where passengers originate their journey on South African Airways, we request that you declare the firearms and any checked baggage containing ammunition to check-in staff for appropriate handling and labelling.

Ammunition may be carried within checked luggage, provided that it is securely packed in a lockable or secure container, and that the total weight does not exceed 5kgโ€™s of ammunition per passenger carrying a firearm. (In general, most airlines allow the carriage of ammunition in terms of the dictums of ICAO Dangerous Goods Standards and associated airline processes followed in terms of IATA requirements/guidance).

DO NOT pack ammunition loosely in checked baggage.


Upon arrival in South Africa, all declared or identified firearms may be collected directly from the firearm office just after immigration. Any firearms either not declared upon departure, or not identified by an appropriate label will be delivered to the normal baggage carousal for collection.

After collection of checked baggage containing ammunition, you are required to proceed to the SA Police Firearm Office, where all necessary import permits and other documentation will be finalised.

Passengers with onward domestic flights:
Passengers with onward domestic flights must clear firearms and ammunition at the SA Police firearm office before proceeding through customs and will then be required to follow the process as described for Domestic flights above for onward and return journeys.

Passengers with onward international flights:
Passengers with onward international flights may have their firearms and ammunition through checked to the final destination. Do however note that such firearms and ammunition may be blocked by airport baggage screening staff for inspection, which will require the airline to page each passenger to proceed to a designated baggage reconciliation area, where you will be required to open any bags containing ammunition for inspection.

We urge passengers to declare baggage containing ammunition to the SAA handling agents at the point where you originally join SAA flights to avoid delays during the transfer process.

Passengers with onward international flights who have not through checked firearms and ammunition will be required to clear all firearms and ammunition through the SA Police firearm office, before proceeding to International check-in for onward connection check-in. The requirements for domestic flight departures as documented above will apply to all firearms and ammunition carried in this manner.

General information and assistance:

Strict legislation on the carriage / importation of hand held firearms exist in almost all countries and heavy fines could be imposed on the passenger and the carrier should such items be landed without the necessary documentation (e.g. import permits / license etc.) It is the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PASSENGER to consult with the local consulate of the country to which he / she will be traveling (including transit / stopovers where applicable) to establish and comply with all entry requirements of the countries concerned.

RSA citizens and residents require RSA firearm license. Visitors require a Temporary Import Permit. Temporary import permits will only be issued for foreign hunters and participants in an organized sport shooting event. Temporary import permits can be obtained:

  • On arrival at the SA Police Firearm Office situated after immigration, or;
  • At least four weeks before arrival in RSA from;

The Registrar
Private bag X 811,
Pretoria, 0001,
Republic of South Africa.


  • Passport
  • Return airline ticket
  • Firearm license (or proof of ownership) from country of residence.
  • Invitation letter from Outfitter or Sport shooting event organizer (on official letterhead)
  • Letter from owner of firearms stating the reasons why the firearms are needed in South Africa
  • Address where person will stay in SA
  • Export permit from country of residence.



  • No automatic, semi-automatic firearms or military weapons are allowed
  • No firearms for self-defense allowed
  • Only one firearm per caliber allowed
  • Under South African Firearms and Ammunition Laws a maximum of only 200 rounds of ammunition will be allowed per firearm caliber.
  • No handguns may be imported to South Africa without the necessary prior obtained permits
  • Person must be 21 years and older to enable them to import a firearm to South Africa


South African Airways & Mango codeshare between Cape Town and Durban

Important information to note when travelling on the Mango codeshare flights:

  • Firearms will no longer be accepted for travel on this route. This is a requirement of the operating carrier Mango


Carriage of Firearms on the services of Airlink and SA Express

South African Airways passengers utilizing the connection services of Airlink and/or SA Express must take note of the following basic restrictions on the carriage of firearms on the services of Airlink and SA Express.

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  • Airlink does not accept the transportation of handguns on any of its routes.
  • Hunting rifles and shotguns are however accepted on the following routes:
    • O R Tambo International, Johannesburg
    • Cape Town
    • Durban
    • Port Elizabeth
    • Kimberly
    • Polokwane
    • Phalaborwa
    • Kruger
    • Mpumalanga International Airport, Nelspruit
    • Upington
    • Bloemfontein
    • Sishen/Kathu
  • No firearms, of any nature are accepted on the following Airlink routes:
    • Mafikeng
    • Mthatha
    • Pietermaritzburg
  • For more information on the Airlink firearm policy, restrictions and/or enquiries related to the carriage of such items on the services of Airlink, kindly contact Airlink direct.

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SA Express

  • SA Express only accepts the carriage of hunting rifles and shotguns, limited to the following SA Express routes:
    • O R Tambo International, Johannesburg
    • Port Elizabeth
    • Kruger Mpumalanga International
    • Hoedspruit
    • Cape Town
    • Kimberly
    • Maputo
    • Gaborone
    • Walvis Bay
    • Durban
    • Windhoek
    • East London
    • Lubumbashi
    • Bloemfontein
    • Richards Bay
  • Only law enforcement agents may be allowed to transport their hand guns on South African Express flights. They must produce some form of official identification e.g appointment certificate. They shall be liable for the stipulated cost for the transportation of the firearm.
  • For more information on the SA Express firearm policy, restrictions and/or enquiries related to the carriage of such items on the services of SA Express, kindly contact SA Express direct.

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