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“Nelson Mandela”
Review of Union Buildings

Union Buildings
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Pretoria City Tour from Sandton
Ranked #3 of 115 things to do in Pretoria
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 reviews
“Nelson Mandela”
Reviewed January 17, 2014

The gardens are so beautiful, Statue of Nelson Mandela, view of the Pretoria City, can see Unisa, Voortrekker, Freedom Park

Visited January 2014
Thank MavisTR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
193 reviews
112 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 209 helpful votes
“A Pleasant Outing”
Reviewed January 12, 2014

What a lovely surprise to find the Union Buildings in such a good condition. It was easy to find, easy to park within the grounds and a pleasant walk through the gardens was relaxing. The new statue of Mr Mandela is excellent. It is just a pity that the water feature behind the statue does not blend with the rest of the architecture, but it may be that it is still in the process of building. The planting of non indigenous palms and Philodendrons is rather disappointing too and seems a rather rushed job, but overall this was still a worthwhile visit.

Visited January 2014
Thank JohannesburgJudith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, Tennessee
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Union Buildings”
Reviewed January 11, 2014

Just drove up to the Union Buildings, the gardens are stunning and we wanted to see it as it looks just like the building built by the same architect in India.

Visited February 2013
Thank helgabezu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
32 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Worth the time if you have a spare hour or two - a mish-mash of South African history”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

The Union Buildings - iconic in South African history of the past century. Designed by the famous Sir Herbert Baker (who designed many other well known buildings in SA including Groote Schuur in the Cape). Towering over Pretoria, with beautiful gardens and lawns rolling down on terraces to Church Street - now Stanza Bopape Street. The impressive new statue of Madiba - of all the many in the world this is the largest. A mish-mash of South African history is here.

To the reviewer who said they wouldn't bother taking visitors there, I disagree ... if you have a spare hour or two in their itinerary this is quite an impressive site to visit.

We travelled from Johannesburg - a South African, a Mozambiquan, an Indian.

It is a very easy drive along the highway into Pretoria. We parked in a small parking area just off the old Church St at the bottom of the Union Buildings gardens. It was end of December, holiday time in Gauteng, and the roads were very quiet.

We then walked into the gardens via an entrance on the bottom right side, along the grass past the statue of General Louis Botha on his horse (first President of South Africa) and then on up the stairs past the war memorials and the tomb of the unknown soldier, and then to the Madiba statue - which is an incredible size.

Families and tourists all there taking a moment to absorb the size of the statue and have photo taken. There were professional photographers there also and ice-cream sellers, plus the usual tourist vendors at the very top of the gardens.

The old statue of Hendrik Verwoerd (who was the architect of apartheid) was dismounted to make way for Mandela statue and amazingly is actually still in the grounds, now placed along one of the side paths. His descendants are members of the ANC.

No access allowed nearer to the Union Buildings - sadly this is a change from times past but understandable given the function of the building which is as home to the SA government. Do take a moment though to study the wonderful design by British architect Sir Herbert Baker.
The gardens are still thriving though not in an immaculate state. There's no litter around which was nice to see. Sad though to see some of the WWI memorial name plaques missing (stolen?) from the WWI memorial.

It's a lovely place to take a picnic along to ...

Above all - it's free.

Visited December 2013
Thank stardustvoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A must see”
Reviewed January 2, 2014 via mobile

A very emotional place to see.
Easy to find in Pretoria
I thought that the new statue of Madiba was very nice and impressive.

1 Thank Jean-Patrick F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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