Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Republic of Botswana
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in the Republic of Botswana
The Botswana agency responsible for drone safety, CAAB, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the link above.
Are drones allowed in Botswana?
According to CAAB, drone use is allowed in Botswana, subject to CAAB regulations. Read on for more details.
Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Botswana:
The following are the most critical rules to follow when flying a drone in Botswana.
- The CAAB requires that all drones be registered.
- While flying, drone pilots must maintain a direct visual line of sight with their drones.
- Drones are permitted to fly up to 400 feet above ground level and a maximum distance of 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the drone pilot.
- Drone pilots are not permitted to fly more than one drone at a time.
- Drone pilots must be at least 18 years old.
- Do not fly drones within a radius of three kilometers (two miles) of any airport or airfield.
- Drones must relinquish this right to crewed aircraft.
- Do not fly Drones at night.
Botswana’s Restricted Areas of Operation. According to the CAAB’s Bye-Law 07 of 2016, the following areas are prohibited from drone operations:
- Within controlled airspace, unless granted express permission by the appropriate ATC authority, only if two-way communication with that authority is possible.
- Within a three-kilometer radius of an unmanned airfield, unless the operator can monitor the unmanned airfield’s 125.5 MHz frequency.
- Over a hundred national game parks and wildlife refuges
- Regardless of the tourism facility
- Over any wildlife in such a way that the drone may cause disturbance to the wildlife
- Within a 200-meter lateral distance of any power line
- If the drone is registered in Botswana, it may be flown across an international border.
- Over any airspace specified in an AIP as prohibited or restricted
- Over major public thoroughfares
- Over vehicular traffic in motion
- Adjacent to or above a prison, police station, crime scene, or court of law, as well as government facilities such as military and security installations
- Unless the owner expressly permits it, over any private property
- Overdeveloped areas
- Throughout public gatherings
In some instances, the CAAB may grant permission to fly over the above-mentioned restricted areas of operation. To obtain permission, contact the CAAB or the appropriate authority and provide the following information in writing:
- The drone’s certificate of registration number
- Date and time of proposed flight
- Reason for the proposed flight
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:
- A photocopy of your driver’s license or passport.
- Fingerprints with Botswana Police Services clearance stamp
- Payment proof (Private-P250; Commercial-P500) is required for each application
- The completed vetting form (DIS Form) (To be completed at CAAB)
- A copy of the RPA user manual is available at the CAAB offices.
- Authorization letter from the property owner (For commercial operation).
Numbers 2 and 6 can be resolved only by the operator in Botswana.
You will be required to travel to Gaborone or possibly Maun for a security interview with their Department of Intelligence Service (DIS), during which they will request that you bring your drone for inspection and to complete the application process.
These conditions apply without exception and were issued by Botswana’s Civil Aviation Authority. We encourage all operators to bear this in mind before submitting an authorization request.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Botswana
See general rules above.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Botswana
See general rules above.
Useful published information on flying drones in Botswana
Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Botswana…
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
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