Rauvolfia caffra is an evergreen tree, up to 30 m tall, with a roundish crown. The main stem is straight, tall, and bare. Bark is grey to brown, rough with prominent leaf scars on younger branches, becoming yellowish brown, thinly corky and cracked into small squares with age. Leaves simple, in whorls of 3-6, crowded at the ends of the branchlets, slightly leathery, tapering to both ends, about 120-280 mm long and 30-60 mm broad. Leaf blade shiny green above, paler green below with midrib raised and margins smooth. Leaf stalk up to 35 mm long. Flowers are produced in terminal sprays at ends of branches, small, about 4 mm long, white, waxy and sweetly scented, with dense hairs at mouth of flower tube. Flowering time is from May to October. Fruits are in large branched clusters, fleshy, almost spherical, 1- or 2-locular, shiny dark green with white spots, turning black and wrinkled when mature. Fruiting time is from October to March.