The Halfway House Hotel in Kimberley, the Capital of South Africa’s Northern Cape Province – the diamond capital of the world – was established in 1872. Situated on the Belgravia historic route it offers guests and tourists visiting the “Diamond City” a combination of style and comfort in a relaxed atmosphere. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, this historic hotel is the perfect place to stay.
“The Half” as it is popularly known, has and always will be a Kimberley institution and is now the only licensed ‘drive-in bar’ in the world. Frequented by tens of thousands over the many years, the Half can boast some illustrious patrons from the early diamond rush days through to the modern post-democratic Kimberley of the early 21st Century. Foremost among those patrons are Cecil John Rhodes, who normally remained on his horse outside the bar; Barney Barnato, Alfred Beit, William Pickering, John Currey, Daniel Greatbatch and an early landlord, William Shalders who was a Springbok cricketer.
‘The Half’ dates back to January 1872 when it was known as the Young America and advertised as “…an excellent framed house with bar stools and full stock…” It was sensibly positioned halfway on the main road between Du Toitspan and the New Rush mines, the latter of which became known as the Kimberley mine.
This is where the De Beers family started out their empire. This is where, within twelve months of the discovery of diamonds at Colesberg Kopje in 1871, 50000 fortune hunters crowded into the first little shanty town of New Rush that later became known as Kimberley. You will no longer find the Kopje here, instead you will find the biggest man made hole ever dug with a pick and shovel.
A fire destroyed half of the original bar in February 1990, the damage is still visible on some of the bar shelving. The sad part of the fire is that many old treasures on display were destroyed, and in particular, the Cape to Cairo artwork that circled the entire bar that included the magnificent painting of the pyramids, Table Mountain, Victoria Falls and more.