Drone Laws in Botswana
In this post, we explain the legal situation for drone pilots in Botswana.
In Botswana, some permits are needed to fly a drone. Each copter must be registered. You will receive a certificate (with name, contact details and address of the operator). The good news: If you bring your drone into the country but do not want to use it, you do not need to register it. The bad: Non-citizens who want to fly in the country with their drone should contact the civil aviation authority in Botswana (CAAB) at least 7 days before in writing. As one of our readers has learned, the registration process seems to be quite elaborate and not very practical for normal travelers, as some documents can only be obtained in the country.
First, you have to get a clearance report at a police station in Botswana. Your fingerprints will be taken.
After you have obtained this report, you can proceed with the actual application. It is advisable to submit it personally in a CAAB office, because you will have to go there with your drone anyway. You need:
- a certified passport copy
- proof of payment of the application fee of 250 BWP (private drone pilots) / 500 BWP (commercial pilots) – to be paid at CAAB office
- security vetting form SV1 (looks like this)
- copy of the drone’s user manual
- the drone itself for inspection
- (for commercial pilots) letter of authorization from property owner
After that, it may take up to 30 days for the security clearance to be completed. Once you have registered successfully, the following rules should be considered.
Overview: Drone rules in Botswana
Drone labels can be ordered here
Civil Aviation Authority Botswana (CAAB)
CAAB Head Office: Directorate of Flight Safety, Plot 61920, Letsema Office Park, Fairgrounds, Gaborone
Further rules in Botswana
Drone flights are allowed in Botswana only in daylight and within direct line of sight, but the drone cannot be more than 500 meters away from the pilot. If FPV equipment is used, you must have a Visual Observer (VO) at your side.
The maximum allowed takeoff weight of drones is 20 kilograms. The operator of a drone must be at least 18 years old. Crossing the border is not permitted.
The transfer (lending, sale or leasing) of a registered copter is only permitted with the consent of the authorities.
Safety distances and flight bans
Drones can not be used within a radius of three kilometers around an airport.
In addition, a distance of 200 meters to power lines must be observed.
You are not allowed to fly in many areas (such as wild animals, tourism facilities such as hotels, national parks, built-up areas) 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.
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!