Johannesburg - Mthatha airport in the Eastern Cape was a hive of activity on Thursday ahead of the arrival of Nelson Mandela's body.
Police kept watch at all major road intersections near the airport, while others, including military police officers on motorcycles, were stationed in and around the facility.
Local residents in yellow ANC T-shirts sang outside the main gate.
A military tent could be seen on the airport grounds.
Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, last Thursday at the age of 95.
A memorial service was held for him at FNB stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday, and his body lay in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday.
Mandela's body is expected to be flown to the Eastern Cape on Saturday. He will buried on Sunday in Qunu, where he spent much of his childhood.