Obama will not visit Mandela : US official

US President Barack Obama will not visit his political hero Nelson Mandela in hospital, out of deference for the anti-apartheid icon's "peace and comfort," a US official said Saturday.

Obama and his wife Michelle will however spend time with Mandela's family to offer "thoughts and prayers at this difficult time," the official said, as the US leader arrived in Pretoria for talks with President Jacob Zuma.