In this post, we explain the legal situation for drone pilots in Botswana.
In Botswana, some permits are needed to fly with a drone. So every copter has to be registered and then receives a certificate (with name, contact details, and address of the taxman). Foreigners need an import permit before entry with a copter to Botswana, which must be requested at least seven days before arrival. In the registration process, your person is checked with a background check, for which a certificate of good conduct must be submitted. The registration fee is 250 BWP (about 23 euros).
Maximum Altitude: Drones must not rise higher than 120 meters (400 feet) in Botswana.
Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: Drone flights in Botswana are only allowed within the direct range of sight, but not more than 500 meters away. If you use FPV equipment, you must have a visual observer (VO) at your side.
Compulsory insurance: We recommend the use of drone liability insurance for flights in Botswana.
Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): The maximum take-off weight of drones is 20 kilograms.
Distance to airports: 3 kilometers.
Other safety distances: 200 meters to power lines.
Flight Bans: You are not allowed to fly in many areas (above wild animals, tourism facilities such as hotels, national parks, built-up areas, etc.) unless you have obtained specific permission. It is forbidden to fly over major roads, prisons, police stations, courts, accident sites, security facilities, government buildings, traffic, and military installations.
Operating hours: Drones may only be flown in daylight.
Special legislation: The operator of a drone must be at least 18 years old. Crossing the border is not permitted.
Regulations for commercial pilots: Currently unknown.
Good to know: The transfer (lending, sale or leasing) of a registered copter is only permitted with the consent of the authorities.
Helpful Links: Drone Rules in Botswana
We have researched the listed drone regulations for Botswana to the best of our knowledge. We cannot guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Botswana!