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BASIL MILLS

See all Great Stories by Roddy Bray


Basil Mills with his prize ox

For many years I have worked with Basil Mills, a larger-than-life character who lives on his farm above Grahamstown and is a memorable tour guide for groups visitng the Eastern Cape. 

Basil Mills | Oxen - South Africa [2010 © greatguides.org]
Basil Mills with his prize ox

For many years I have worked with Basil Mills, a larger-than-life character who lives on his farm above Grahamstown and is a memorable tour guide for groups visitng the Eastern Cape. 

Basil was born on a nature reserve, worked in a circus and lived with the Bushman, learning their langauage and tracking skills. 

For the last 25 years he has kept oxen and farmed the forests along a ridge overlooking the historic city of Grahamstown.  He is a multi-talented man, expert in many things, which reflects his enthusiastic character.  He is well known as a colourful tour guide in the Eastern Cape. 

Basil is connected to the National English Literature Museum and often hosts international student groups  as a wildlife and history guide. He takes students from Addo safari reserve to the battlefields of the Great Fish River, where Boer, Brit and Xhosa fought 'Frontier Wars' for 100 years.  Basil creates a camp of Ox Wagons on his land, overlooking the coast, and shares 'potjie' dinners in his 'lapa' on the hill.  He gives visitors a unique experience of South Africa and its rural history. 

Basil is also known internationally for his falconry and animal management skills, and his work restoring antique muskets and canons and organizing military re-enactments.  He is a big person: generous, resourceful, entertaining, knowledgeable, and my tours have been enriched by his guiding. 


Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 02 Feb 2010
Location: Southern Africa | South Africa
Themes: travel | city, tour guide



Jay Simpson on 20 Nov 2011

Truly fantastic!

Mike Hodson on 20 Nov 2011

Basil is truly a "larger than life character"!! We enjoyed an excellent day in his company around the Eastern Cape, his knowledge of the area and it's history is second to none. Also it is worth mentioning his commitment to the local community - he does loads of work with the Grahamstown schools and he is a huge, huge asset to the area. We wish him well in all his future escapades!