Union buildings and the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre

Designed by Sir Herbert Baker to commemorate the 'Union of South Africa' in 1910, the Union Buildings are the official office of the President. The 270m long building is divided into three units, and is set on a hill overlooking Pretoria.

In 1994 President Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratic president, was inaugurated here. In December 2013 his body lay in state here for three days so South Africans could pay their last respects. Though you cannot enter the buildings you can admire them from the the manicured terrace gardens, which also afford superb vistas.

The 9m statue of Nelson Mandela in front of the buildings was unveiled on December 16, 2013. In a bizarre twist of events the statue later courted controversy when it was discovered that the sculptors had left their signature – a bronze bunny – hidden in one of the ears.

Combine this visit with a short drive along ‘Embassy Row’, an area parallel to Stanza Bopape Street where Pretoria’s many foreign embassies are located in grand old mansions.


The Union Buildings are a short drive from the Hatfield Gautrain station. See our guide to the Gautrain here and download the Gautrain app for real-time updates on when the next Gautrain and Gautrain midi-bus is due. Visit for more information on the timetable and fares. #YourGautrainJourneyStartsHere


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