Botswana Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews
Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Botswana? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Botswana
For an introduction to shooting in Botswana see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.
Botswana Film Locations
A landlocked country located in Southern Africa, Botswana is one of the world’s best countries for filming big African wildlife. A predominantly flat country, the landscape is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, Okavango Delta, and Makgadikgadi Pan. The Limpopo River Basin lies partly in Botswana.
Agricultural film locations include plantations of sorghum, corn, millet, and cowpeas. Botswana is known for its diamond, copper, and nickel mines. Energy locations include coal-fired power plants.
Film locations can be divided by the following regions:
Gaborone is the capital and largest city. It’s known for the Gaborone Game Reserve which is home to wildebeest, impala, and migratory birds. The Three Dikgosi Monument was designed by North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Projects.
Located just outside of Gaborone the Mokolodi Nature Reserve is home to rhino, elephant, giraffe, and hippos.
Although Gaborone is the capital, most productions base in the northern city of Maun which is only a few hours drive to national parks and nature reserves.
Chobe National Park is home to large herds of elephant and buffalo and the lions that hunt them.
Nxai Pan National Park is known for its grassy plains dotted with baobab trees, acacia bushes and wandering giraffes.
Moremi National Park has populations of lion, elephant, rhino, giraffe, hippo, zebra, cheetah, hyena, and the endangered Cape wild dog.
The beautiful Okavango Delta is known for its vast grass flats, shallow waterways, lagoons, and the unique culture of the indigenous San people. Wildlife that call the Okavango Delta home include hippo, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and crocodiles.
The Makgadikgadi Pan is one of the largest salt plains in the world. During the dry season very little wildlife lives in Makgadikgadi Pan but the rainy season brings migrating wildebeest and zebra.
The Tsodilo Hills boast one of the highest concentrations of rock art in the world.
The African Quadripoint, where Bostwana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia meet, is the only place in the world where the borders of four countries meet.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve is home to the Kalahari lion.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in the south-west of the country. It is home to lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, and a large diversity of birds.
Botswana Film Location Permits
Film Permits need to be obtained from the Ministry of Environment, Tourism & Wildlife. A Film Permit is required regardless of the duration of the shoot or where you are filming. If you are taking photographs / filming in the National Parks or Reserves our Batswana fixer will also need to arrange a Supplementary Permit from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. You must have the Film Permit first before our fixer can arrange for a Supplementary Permit. Also important to note that the Supplementary Permit will only be granted for named people as per the Film Permit. Each crew member needs to pay a per week fee to be in the parks. Our fixer also arranges permits for off-road driving allowing access to more remote park locations. Things can move slowly in Botswana so it’s recommended to allow for several weeks of processing time for permission to film. Please contact us for location specific permitting information.
When To Shoot?
Winter is from May to October. Winter is the dry season where the sun is high, sky is cloudless and the earth is dusty. Late winter is the best time for viewing game as animals become more concentrated at water sources as the dry season wears on.
Summer is from November to April. It is marked by high temperatures and rains that last for weeks. November is a good time to film the transition from the long dry period to the green that follows the first rains. Wildflowers blossom, the sky is cloudy and most animals give birth allowing plenty of opportunities to film predators in action. The Chobe’s Savute region and Kalahari lie on the path of migrating animals offering excellent summer game viewing.
For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:
• Tjilenje Cultural Festival held in Nlapkhwane takes place in May
• Toyota 1000 Desert Race takes place in June
• Kuru Dance Festival held at Dqae Game Farm takes place in August
Christianity is the main religion, so those holidays are observed.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Botswana.
Unique Local Stories
Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.
If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.
If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. Locations, local talent and support crew are inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. South Africa is the closest established film production centre. Our fixer in Botswana will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Botswana.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Botswana has a very small local pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew should be brought in from abroad. South Africa is the closest established film production centre.
Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Botswana.
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.
English and Setswana are the official languages.
Botswana’s main ethnic groups include the Tswana, Kalanga, and Basarwa (Kalahari Bushmen) people. There is also a small Caucasian and East Indian community. All other talent needs to be brought in from abroad.
Botswana Film Equipment
Equipment. You will need to bring in all camera, lighting and grip equipment from abroad. South Africa is the closest established film production centre. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Botswana is an ATA carnet country.
Communications. Internet is slow and unreliable.
Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.
Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.
For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction is very basic.
Studios and backlots. None exist at present.
Post Production. Post abroad.
Visas & Work Permits
Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Most nationalities can stay up to 90 days visa-free. Contact your local Batswana embassy or representative for more information.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are paved and in a good condition. Rural roads are slower going. Our Batswana fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Several international airlines service flights to Botswana.
Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Maun:
Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Take some time to experience the beautiful wildlife.
Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Botswana, please see below:
Hire Botswana Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Botswana, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Botswana, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.
We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.