About 100,000 South Africans lined up in Pretoria to view Nelson Mandela in his casket but about a third of the overwhelming crowd was sent away without being able to file past the bier.
Many of the frustrated mourners fought back tears of disappointment on the third and last day of the revered leader's lying in state. Mandela's coffin was taken away by a military guard to 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria.
The anti-apartheid icon will be flown Saturday to his rural home in Qunu, Eastern Cape where he will be buried on Sunday.
Hundreds of people cheered and some burst into song when Mandela's cortege left Pretoria's Union Buildings, the seat of government, for the last time on Friday evening.
"It was amazing,'' said Keneilwe Mohapi, who stood with her mother as the impressive motorcade went by.
"We couldn't ask for a more fitting end. It's an honour to say goodbye to him properly.''
"We're mourning, but I'm grateful,'' the 27-year-old said. "He changed my life.''
Many waited under a hot sun for four or five hours in a line snaking through an open field to buses that would take the lucky ones to see Mandela.
"I feel like I've lost a once in a lifetime opportunity,'' said 22-year-old student Caiphus Ramushun.
"I'm frustrated because I got so close,'' he added, saying he was only about 100 people away from making it to the buildings.