Mandrills are easily recognized by their olive-colored fur and colorful faces and rumps (though females have duller colors). They also don't have long tails.
- "No other member in the whole class of mammals is colored in so extraordinary a manner as the adult male mandrills."
- —Charles Darwin
Mandrills are native to southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo. They are mainly found in tropical rain forests and occasionally woodlands. They are omnivores, but prefer plants over meat since it is easier to access. Mandrills mostly eat invertebrates, such as ants, beetles, termites, crickets, spiders, snails, and scorpions. They will also eat eggs, and occasionally vertebrates, such as birds, tortoises, frogs, porcupines, rats, and shrews.
Like lions, mandrills are social creatures and live in large groups (one is recorded to have had over one-thousand individuals). These groups are called "hordes" and are led by one dominant male. Their mating season takes place from June to October. They breed every two years. Because of this rapid rate in birth, mandrills have a long life span; they can survive up to forty years in captivity.
Males weigh fifty to eighty pounds (some growing to be over one-hundred) and females are usually half that weight, around twenty to twenty-four pounds. The average male is eighty-one to ninety centimeters long (thirty-two to thirty-six inches) and the female is usually fifty-six to sixty-six centimeters long (twenty-two to twenty-six inches), with the tail adding another five to eight centimeters (two to three inches). Overall, the mandrill is the world's largest species of monkey.
Rafiki is with Simba and Nala on Pride Rock. After hearing Kion roar, he is certain that it is time for Kion to accept his destiny as leader of the Lion Guard. Rafiki attempts to persuade Simba into letting Kion in on the Lion Guard's secrets despite Simba's obvious concerns. Rafiki explains it further for Simba, and together they take Kion and Bungainto The Lair of the Lion Guard. After hearing his new duty, Kion leaves, with Rafiki certain that he'll choose the best lions for the job. Rafiki is later seen with Simba, Nala and Tiifu, watching as Kion and the new Lion Guard take down the hyenas and save Kiara. Once again, he knows that it is time, and this time, Simba agrees.
Rafiki appears gathering baobabs after the storm, and mentions that honey badgers are smart as the Lion Guard doubt Bunga's intelligence. However, he drops his fruit and, as he finishes his statement, everyone disappeared. Near the end of the adventure, Rafiki is meditating nearby, when he sees Bunga about to do something foolish. This time, he tells him that honey badgers are only smart when they think before they leap. This came too late for Bunga, however, as he dove into the mud.
Rafiki is painting in The Lair of the Lion Guard, when the Guard arrive. Rafiki knows just what to do, and gets to work. He gives Ono a green eye patch, advising him to stay out of trouble for 3 days. Fuli soon sees Rafiki's paintings, and the mandrill explains that he paints all of the previous Lion Guards and their tales, and that he now has to paint in the new The Lion Guard. Rafiki isn't happy with his work. Kion is posing dramatically for Rafiki, who is still painting. Still not happy with the outcome, Bunga suggests that Kion poses 'more like a lion', and attempts to move his body around for a more powerful pose. Rafiki becomes increasingly annoyed, and Bunga then suggests painting him instead, launching himself into a variety of dynamic poses until a coconut shell covers his head. Kion laughs, though Rafiki's annoyance does not diminish. Kion apologizes, but Rafiki ushers everyone out and begins to meditate, stating that he needs some peace. Rafiki has finally finished his portrait. Ono claims that it's the best painting he's ever seen.
Rafiki is seen with the royal lions entering the Kupatana Celebration from atop a rock. He welcomes the peace ceremony along with Simba, Nala, Kiara and Kion. After Simba makes a small speech, Rafiki steps forward, announcing that it is time. As soon as he speaks, the baobab flowers bloom, scattering their petals.
When Bunga is bitten by Ushari, the Lion Guard take the honey badger to see Rafiki. Rafiki pops down from his tree with some fruits in his hands, but does nothing to help. Although the others are shocked, Rafiki explains that nothing needs to be done as Bunga is in fact immune to snake bites.
In the Lair of the Lion Guard Bunga messes around, he notices Rafiki is painting in the lair. He marvels as Rafiki uses his staff to make the paintings come to life and, when Rafiki leaves, uses the staff for his own amusement. He watches a painting of some zebras run towards a rock formation, narrowly missing the top rock as they run towards it. Soon the guard leaves to help calm down the zebtas. Bunga soon notices that the paintings predicti the future. Later Rafiki has run out of mango paint and leaves his staff behind. Bunga shows Beshte how he knew about the falling rock. Beshte is amazed, and soon notices another painting which looks suspiciously like Kion, hanging on a tree branch. Bunga starts the animation, but stops it as Kion begins to fall, fearful of what happens next. They decide to make sure that the event never takes place, and rush off, with Bunga spilling some paint as they pass Rafiki along the way. They return to The Lair of the Lion Guard, where Rafiki explains that Bunga had been watching the zebra clip backwards. Bunga questions the painting of Kion, though Rafiki further explains that the painting is not of Kion, but of Nala's Father when he was a cub. He shows the Guard the full animation, which involves Nala's Father falling off the branch but being saved by the Lion Guard of his time. Rafiki does show a painting of Bunga which does predict the future, however. Bunga's enthusiasm is destroyed when it is revealed that he will be cleaning the mess he made. Rafiki hands Bunga some leaves to clean up with, and as he does his duty.
Rafiki tells a story to Kion, Bunga, Fuli, Ono, Mtoto, Young Rhino, a hareand two porcupines at night just outside his home. The story refers to a mysterious creature known as the Zimwi, which only comes out on at night during a full moon. Bunga promptly points out that it's a full moon already, which frightens the younger animals. Before Rafiki can say anymore, the animals hear a strange noise which is revealed to be Beshte, who explains that he is practising his bellowing for The Bellow Fellows. Rafiki becomes chafed by their interest in Beshte's story, and starts to walk away. Bunga calls him back, and the animals ask him to finish his story. He then sings the rest of the story to them, explaining how the Zimwi is as tall as two giraffes, has eight legs and teeth sharper than a crocodile's. The younger animals are frightened, so Fuli asks Rafiki if it's just a story. He replies ambiguously, ushering the children to bed. Kion thanks him for the story, and Rafiki bounds back up his tree.
Rafiki is in The Lair of the Lion Guard examining paintings on the ground. When Bunga suggests that he race Fuli, Rafiki laughs, considering it to be a foolish idea. Bunga mentions that Kion has gone to talk to lions in the Outlands, which horrifies Rafiki. Using paintings on the walls, Rafiki reveals that the lions in the Outlands are called Outsiders, a pride banished by Simba because they were loyal to Scar. He believes that if they find out Kion is Simba's son, there will be trouble.
Rafiki is attempting to paint a portrait of Big Baboon and Mbeya in Mizimu Grove for the Savannah Summit, although he struggles to finish it as Mbeya refuses to stand up. When the Lion Guard arrive having heard a cry from Zazu, Rafiki guides him towards the hornbill. When the Guard ask him what's going on, the mandrill laughs and informs them that they must reach the 'bottom' of things, causing Bunga to laugh at his jape. When Zazu is freed, he turns to Rafiki and checks to make sure he won't be in the portrait. Rafiki assures him that it won't make it into the official portrait, but his voice suggests that he might appear in another one.
Makini is Rafiki new apperntace she overhears Kion speaking to his grandfather Mufasa. Than she goes over to Rafiki's tree and starts her training Rafiki tries to calm Makini in order to continue with her training, but to no avail. Unable to settle the hyperactive young mandrill with shwari, he suggests that she finds her own Bakora Staff before she becomes a Royal Mjuzi. He leaves the apprentice to work on her own, directing her to a large pile of sticks just outside his home. Ushari locates Makini, who is searching for her own staff. He introduces himself as a dear friend of Kion's and the Lion Guard's, and tries to find out more. He asks if they're able to hear the bad lions of the past, and Makini replies that she's uncertain. Just then, she feels drawn to one stick on the ground. As she picks it up, a strong wind blows past her, and she knows that she's found her bakora staff. She turns to find Ushari, who has left. She returns to Rafiki, and the two make their way to Pride Rock to welcome her officially. Along the way, Makini starts to question Rafiki, who plans on answering her questions a bit later. In the Lair, Rafiki introduces Makini to the Guard. She is overjoyed at meeting them, particularly Fuli, for being the first female in the Lion Guard in their history. Rafiki explains how the Great Lions of the Past chose Makini for him to raise as his successor, and asks Kion to get the Royal Family ready. When he leaves, Ushari expresses his thanks to the skinks and slithers into the lair, listening above. Rafiki then tests Makini's staff out, by getting her to animate the paintings. Afterwards, she asks Rafiki about contacting the bad lions of the past as well, and Rafiki explains how they can be summoned using her staff and the Roar, although they will appear in fire. On Pride Rock, Simba's Pride have gathered awaitng to meet Makini. Having heard of Ma Tembo's situation, Kiara wishes to help. Although she probably can't do much, her parents decide that it could be good for her to work with Ma Tembo and gives her their blessing. Makini arrives and expresses her desire to go with her, and introduces herself. Rafiki is a bit agitated at this, and officially introduces her himself. Kiara agrees to let her come along, much to the annoyance of her friends, and they leave together.
In Rafiki's Tree, Rafiki is teaching Makini how to paint. After hushing his apprentice, he listens to the Great Lions of the Past to hear what they want him to paint. He paints a portrait of princess Kiara, and hands the bowl to Makini. After listening for a while, she starts to paint but a commotion causes her to drop the bowl onto the tree instead. Soon she meets Chama, Furaha and Mzaha that wanna live right next door to Rafiki. Rafiki claims that he needs quite to train Makini but Makini thinks they are friendly and fun. The guard takes the three animals home however they come back to the tree and Rafiki kicks them out. Soon Rafiki's tree is on fire and the two Mandrills are stuck however Chama, Furaha and Mzaha save them with help from the The Lion Guard.
In Mizimu Grove, Ma Tembo is ordering her herd around in preparation for the upcoming Ukumbusho celebration. As they prepare, the Lion Guard enter the grove, followed shortly by Makini. The mandrill apologizes to Ma Tembo for her tardiness, and she is directed to a pile of fruits to be used for the peace paint. As Makini tries to decide which paints to use, Zito and Johari arrive for their paint. Makini overworks herself, unsure of which color she should choose. After reminding herself of shwari, she calms herself and concludes that if there's no wrong place to start, then there cannot be a right place to start either, allowing her to pick a color of her own choice to begin with. Timon and Pumbaa arrive to coach the Lion Guard. Although hesitant, Ma Tembo allows them to help nonetheless, taking all the help she can get. Suddenly, she remembers that previous Lion Guards have always been lions. Although the Guard can't do anything about this, Makini offers to paint them to look like lions. Ma Tembo is happy for this, though reminds her that she must finish painting the sunbursts on the elephants. While painting Zito Makini runs out of yellow paint so she goes and finds some more. Soon the king arrvies and the celebration begins Makini is enjoying the show with Timon and Pumbba until bees come in and ruin it.
Rafiki tells a story to Makini how Timon and Pumbaa brought Christmas to the Pridelands.
When the water is low in the Pridelands Simba asks Rafiki and Makini where to find more.
Scar orders Janja's Clan and Reirei's Pack to work together and take down Rafiki, who has the power to sense the Kings of the Past, including himself. Near Mapango Cliffs, Rafiki meditates, when Janja's clan start to surround him. When Janja gives the signal, Rafiki awakens, grabs his bakora staff, and enters a fighting pose. To their surprise, Rafiki performs some martial art tricks on the hyenas, defeating them with ease. In the distance, Janja notices the entire Lion Guard approaching to save their friend, and comments on how their mission is not going as planned.