Drone Laws in Botswana

Flying drones 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

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, after registration or approval
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, after registration or approval
Maximum Altitude:400 Foot (121,9 Meter) in uncontrolled airspace.
Is drone insurance mandatory? No. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Does the drone need a badge?Yes.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? Yes.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people
Contact information

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!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

  • Patricia Pedroso | 11.04.2017

    I am the executive producer of the TV series 50 BY 1 (50 POR 1) presented by Mr. Alvaro Garnero, the travel show is on air for its seventh season and it’s ​part of​ Spectacular Sunday (Domingo Espetacular), the most prestigious weekly electronic magazine on TV RECORD, the second largest network in Brazil.

    The show is also broadcasted around the world to over 150 countries through TV Record News, Record International and Europa News.

    ​Our goal is to capture a bit of culture, history, gastronomy, curiosities and the best each destination has to offer. It’s not exactly a show about tourism but about experiences where the presenter is the leading figure. Each program takes 12- 15 minutes and is shown in prime time – on Sunday around 8pm – reaching about 30 million viewers across the country each end week. The second largest audience rate in the country at its date and time.Therefore, we believe a lot in the return and result not only for the series but for our partners and destinations.
    We are goingo to Botswana on April 17, and I just figured out that I couldn’t use the drone. The use of the drone would be a huge gain, as we would be available to reveal the beauties of this place under a completely different and unusual perspective.

    In the beginning it was forbidden, also under Abu Dhabi law, but we were allowed to shoot inside the hotel area. They liked the result so much that today.video now playing at the lobby of Qsar al Sarab Anantara: https://vimeo.com/203303418

    This is another video we did recently for Turkish Airlines, that helped us this permits: https://vimeo.com/211770136

    Do you know any fast track we can use to get this drone license?

    I thank you in advance.

    Best regards

    • Francis Markert | 12.04.2017

      Hello Patricia!
      Unfortunately, I have no idea how you could speed up the process of getting the license 🙁 Good Luck!
      Best wishes, Francis

  • EdM | 05.05.2018

    Hi Francis,

    Is this registration & permit also necessary for recreational use and were can we buy this drone registration & permit ? Doesn’t tell your story.

    Kind regards,

    EdM

  • James | 16.08.2018

    How can one submit for this import license? I would hate to see my drone confiscated.

  • Mirko | 17.09.2018

    Hi.
    You talk about a registration process, I have tried to sent an email but nobody reply.
    San I have the link you used or the email, please?

  • Mr. Dipogiso Gaokwalelwe | 25.09.2018

    I am here to help anyone here to process the application for drone flights in Botswana as I am using one to shoot videos at weddings and events (+26772409054) [email protected]

  • dichaba seleka | 08.06.2019

    When are you coming to BOTSWANA again?

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