According to Botswana’s national aviation authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), flying a drone is legal in Botswana, but we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations listed below before doing so.
If you’d like to contact CAAB directly before you travel with any questions you might have, here is their contact information: [email protected] / +267 368 8200
General Rules for Flying a Drone in Botswana
Based on our research and interpretation of the laws, here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Botswana.
- All drones must be registered with the CAAB.
- Drone pilots must maintain a direct visual line of sight with their drone while flying.
- Drones may be flown up to 400 feet above ground level, and no farther than 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the drone pilot.
- Drone pilots may not fly more than one drone at the same time.
- Drone pilots must be 18 years of age or older.
- Drones may not be flow within 3 kilometers (2 miles) of any airport or airfield.
- Drones must give the right away to manned aircraft.
- Drones may not be flown at night.
Drone Flights Request
According to the regulations, you must apply for an importation permit seven days before the date of travel, along with the following documents:
1 – A photocopy of your driver’s license or passport.
2* – Fingerprints with Botswana Police Services clearance stamp
3 – Payment proof (Private-P250 ($19); Commercial-P500 ($38)) is required for each application.
4 – The completed vetting form (DIS Form) (To be completed at CAAB)
5 – A copy of the RPA user manual is available at the CAAB offices.
6* – Authorization letter from the property owner (For commercial operation).
* Numbers 2 and 6 can be resolved only by the operator in Botswana.
Restricted Areas of Operation in Botswana
According to the CAAB’s Bye-Law 07 of 2016, it is illegal to operate a drone in the following areas:
- Within a controlled airspace unless with the specific permission of the relevant ATC authority and then only if two way communication with that authority can be maintained
- Within a 3 kilometer radius of an unmanned airfield unless the operator can monitor the unmanned airfield’s frequency of 125.5 MHz
- Over national game parks and wildlife sanctuaries
- Over any tourism facility
- Over any wildlife in a manner in which the drone may disturb such wildlife
- Within a lateral distance of 200 meters from any power line
- Across an international boundary if the drone is registered in Botswana
- Over any prohibited and restricted airspace specified in an AIP
- Over any major public roads
- Over any moving vehicular traffic
- Adjacent to or above a prison, police station, crime scene, court of law, and government facilities including military and security installations
- Over any private property unless with the specific permission of the owner
- Over built up areas
- Over public gatherings
In some instances the CAAB can grant permission to fly over the restricted areas of operation mentioned above. To request permission, contact the CAAB or relevant authority, and, in writing, give the following details:
- The drone’s certificate of registration number
- Date and time of proposed flight
- Reason for the proposed flight
For more information on Botswana’s drone laws, see this page on the CAAB website.