Photography and the Law

Photography and the Law

It was with a heavy heart that we decided to pull the plug on PhilGuides Southern Africa, it was a passion project and circumstances beyond our control made it impossible to continue. We saved all the information and carried it here. Geraldine and Pascal will try to keep it up to date and add more information as time goes by, you may even find a tour or two in the future.

We are not qualified in any form to give legal advice, bellow is from our research and could change without notice. For more information, seek a legal practitioner versed in the South African law. This article is for informational purposes only.

South Africa is a beautiful country, and we are sure that you will want to share your memories when you return home.

In every country there are some legalities everyone should be aware of, we put together a few guidelines to avoid you any trouble.

You may photograph:

  • Any person or anything seen from a public space.
  • Exclusions are listed on the right, but common sense applies. You cannot take photos in toilets or change rooms for example.

You may not photograph:

  • Any military installations (Military, Airforce or Naval bases for example), inside a police station, at border posts and anything else that is of national security.
  • Inside some museums, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg for instance.
    These are well indicated
  • From any space from within privately owned properties, if you do not have permission from the owner, shopping malls for example.
  • Lighthouses, though it is tolerated.

South Africa is a beautiful country, and we are sure that you will want to share your memories when you return home.

In every country there are some legalities everyone should be aware of, we put together a few guidelines to avoid you any trouble.

Avoid pointing your camera in a police officer’s or most embassies and consulates way.

You can use the photographs you have taken for personal use; there are other rights related to photography. However, the short version is you cannot use any pictures you have taken of people or private places for commercial use unless you have written authorisation from the person or owner.

Your equipment cannot be confiscated, that would be considered theft. However, you can be asked to leave any private space, should you refuse you can be arrested for trespassing.

If you are going to take photos of people in a non-street photography scenario, an individual, for example, ask. Though it is not illegal, some people in South Africa may feel violated. In some case, you may be asked for a few Rand; it is your right to walk away; however, we recommend that you do not take any photos of that person or group, the same goes for private spaces.