It’s hard to think of any other country that’s more suitable to shoot some drone footage than Namibia. The vast plains, huge dune fields, pretty deserted beaches and an occasional river are perfect for making videos and photos. Although this sounds great you do need to plan your drone adventure in advance. After reading this article you’re all set and you know what to do to be able to legally use your drone in Namibia.
Before you go to Namibia
Namibia is pretty strict in its requirements to fly a drone. As a foreigner it’s important to reach out to the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and fill out form 081 60 days in advance at the latest.
When applying for a drone permit there are a couple of things you need to do and/or make clear:
- Explain the purpose of using your drone in the Namibian skies.
- Show where you want to fly your drone. You can do this using Google Maps screenshots including the exact coordinates.
- Then you’ll also need an insurance liability for any damage to third parties when you crash your drone that is also valid in Namibia.
- Finally you need to pay 1200N$/ZAR to the NCAA and send the proof of payment to the same organization. The funds need to be in the account of the NCAA 10 days before you want to fly your drone.
For more information and the banking details of the NCAA please check out their website
Done with all the above-mentioned steps and you have a permit to fly your drone? Please make sure you print the NCAA’s permit and bring it along. This way you can proof that you’re actually allowed to fly your drone in Namibia if you’re stopped by the local authorities.
Drone in an airplane
Before you get to fly your drone you first need to get to Namibia yourself. Depending on the type of drone you’ve got and the capacity of the batteries you can (or can’t) take your drone in your carry-on baggage. As long as the lithium batteries don’t exceed 100Wh you’re fine to take them with you on the plane if you’re flying with KLM (as we did). Do make use of a battery bag to ensure that they are safe during the flight. For a detailed overview of what you’re allowed to take with you please consult this link. Another thing to think about is what flight route you’re taking. If you do have a stopover in a country were drones are illegal (e.g. Kenya) you might want to read into experiences others had, consider leaving your drone at home or put it in your checked baggage.
Ready for take-off?
After going through all these administrative tasks and formalities you’re finally in Windhoek! This won’t be your final stop in Namibia since there is so much to discover in this amazing country. I bet you’re a responsible drone owner so some of the following things might sound familiar.
Flying your drone in Namibia? Please do keep in mind that:
- Never ever fly in game and/or national parks. You will disturb the animals, annoy other visitors and harm the peaceful environment. Moreover, the park officials in Etosha National Park will explicitly ask if you have a drone with you. If so they will either keep the drone at the entrance or they will seal the drone so they know you can’t fly with it. You’re only allowed to fly a drone if you have approval from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and that seems rather unrealistic as a recreational drone pilot…
- Do you want to fly on privately owned land? Ask for permission to the actual owner. This can be beneficiary for both the owner and yourself. You’ll get great footage from the land surrounding the property and the owner will get some great footage from his hotel, camping etc. Please do keep other guests in mind.
Next to these tips, there are a couple of other rules defined by the NCAA:
- Do not operate in weather conditions that do not allow unobstructed visual contact to be maintained with the drone by other airspace users and by the operator
- Do not operate in any controlled airspace
- Do not operate your drone within 5 nautical miles (9,26km) of any restricted area
- Do not fly over an assembly of people
For the full list of safety requirements please visit the NCAA website
It’s all about the result
Although there are plenty and pretty strict rules and requirements set by the NCAA it is actually worth it. There are more than enough opportunities to shoot some great footage while on holiday in Namibia. Check out some of our photos and videos. Note: although you’re not allowed to fly over the Sossusvlei you can always book a recreational flight in a Cessna and take your camera with you ;). That’s at least what we did.
You may also like Can I fly my drone in South Africa?