Rafiki is tall in stature and thinly built, composed of lanky limbs and a hunched back. His main pelt is scruffy and blue-gray in color, while his chest is pale gray. Both his hands and his feet are coated in black fur, his palms a pinkish-brown, and his muzzle matches his palms in color. His face itself is pale blue, broken only by sky blue cheeks, navy blue eye rims, and a bright red nose. His eyes are bright yellow, and his teeth are unexpectedly sharp. He also sports a white mane and goatee. His short tail has a bend in the middle.
In addition to all of this he also carries a staff, which is almost always near him.
Though he may talk in a cryptic manner which may be hard to understand at first, he is nevertheless very wise. Being a shaman, he has the power to talk to spirits like Mufasa. He is very excitable, as seen when Kion uses the Roar of the Elders for the first time. He is constantly shown to have great knowledge of a variety of different subjects. However, it is easy to settle him.
In Eye of the Beholder, Rafiki becomes frustrated when his painting doesn't look right, which shows that he is very determined that all of his paintings result in the way he desires for them too. In Paintings and Predictions he grows annoyed by Kion and his friends when they are unable to keep quiet. In Beware the Zimwi, Rafiki is shown to get a little irritated when the focus is turned away from his storytelling and onto Beshte's story, thus further proving his petulance.
Rafiki served as a shaman to the royal family of the Pride Lands and was a close friend of Mufasa. Years after the King's death and Scar's takeover, Rafiki discovered that Mufasa's son Simba was alive. He traveled to find Simba and with the help of Mufasa's spirit, convinced him to return to the Pride Lands and reclaim his title as King. He helped Simba defeat Scar and his hyena army, before watching the young lion become King.
Rafiki is with Simba and Nala on Pride Rock. After hearing Kionroar, 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 Bunga into 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.
In Bunga the Wise, 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 with a wounded Ono lying on Beshte's back. Rafiki knows just what to do, and gets to work. He gives Ono a green eye path, advising him to stay out of trouble for three days, much to the egret's disappointment. Fuli soon sees Rafiki's paintings, and the baboon explains that he paints all of the previous Lion Guards and their tales and that he now has to paint in the new Lion Guard. Rafiki isn't happy with his work, and although Kion asks Ono what he thinks, Bunga doesn't believe that Ono can see anything. Ono takes off in a huff, leaving Rafiki to celebrate over his art, believing something to be missing.
Later, 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. His peace is disturbed almost immediately much to his disappointment, as Beshte comes charging in with some news. After the Guard leave (without Ono this time), Rafiki continues complaining about his paintings, to which Ono admits that he can't see a problem. Rafiki soon realizes that the problem is that Kion doesn't just lead the Guard - they are all friends, something which the previous Guards were not, and that the current Guard belongs together. Ono soon takes note of his words, thanking him as he realizes that, eye or no eye, he belongs with them. He takes off through the top to join the others.
As the Guard return from their latest journey, Rafiki has finally finished his portrait of the latest Lion Guard. He asks what Ono thinks (whose eye has now healed), who is impressed. Rafiki thanks him, and the Lion Guard watch as the pictures re-assemble together to form a pyramid-like structure. Rafiki closes by saying that this Lion Guard is better off together.
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.
Rafiki finishes painting agiraffe just before Bunga slams into the wall of the cave beside his new painting. Pleased, he announces that he is finished before tapping the painting with his staff. The giraffe brightens and begins to walk. Rafiki observes that the neck is much too short, and Bunga, hanging from a vine by his foot, adds that it is also upside down. Rafiki replies that he can fix that, and prods the vine, causing Bunga to fall to the ground. Rafiki erases the painting with his hand and declares, "One longer giraffe neck coming up!"
He later appears painting the mane of the giraffe. He dips his finger into his bowl, then realizes he is out of mango. He fetches more, and just as he returns, Beshte and Bunga leave the Lair. He makes a sound of surprise and picks up his staff upon discovering that another type of juice has been spilled, its bowl overturned completely. Later during the day, Rafiki is surprised to hear that Bunga believed that his paintings told the future. He asks Bunga why he came to that conclusion, and Bunga tells him that they witnessed an event similar to that shown in one of Rafiki's paintings. Rafiki laughs, taps Bunga on the head with his staff, and orders him not to take his staff.
He then explains that Bunga had watched the paintings move backward and that the paintings did not show the future, but the past. He informs the Guard that the paintings show the history of the Pride Lands. Bunga points out the painting of a cub that resembles Kion falling from a branch, and Rafiki responds that if he leaps to conclusions, he'll leap to confusions. He announces that the cub depicted in the painting was actually Kion's grandfather, the father of Nala. He pokes Bunga on the nose and adds that he did not watch the whole thing. He tells the Guard that Kion's grandfather did indeed climb a tree and fall, but was rescued by the Lion Guard of his time.
After finishing the story, he comments that one painting does show the future and points to it with his staff. It shows Bunga scrubbing the floor of the cave, and Rafiki hands Bunga some leaves, which Bunga then uses to clean the blue liquid that he spilled earlier while Rafiki and the Guard laugh.
Rafiki tells a story to Kion, Bunga, Fuli, Ono, Mtoto, Young Rhino, a hare and 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 practicing 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.
During Running with the King, Rafiki can be seen making a mud statue of Simba and Bunga. A little later, he is seen laughing with Simba along a thin path. Simba smacks a bee off his nose and accidentally sends Rafiki flying off the edge. He lands softly on some vines below. When Simba peers down to check on him, Rafiki shrugs it off amicably.
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.
Rafiki is seen finishing a painting in his tree until he hears the lions of the past whisper something in his ear and he leaves his tree. Then, he meets Makini who's very excited to become his apprentice; Rafiki tries to teach the young mandrill about calmness and patience he has a bit of a hard time. Suggesting that Makini made need something to ground her, Rafiki tells her to search for her own Bakora staff pointing her towards that are just outside of his home and reminding her about calmness before she goes.
Sometime later, he is happy to see that Makini has found her Bakora Staff decorating it with gourds and the two make there the way to Pride Rock. Before they left, Rafiki is asked if there is a way to hear the bad lions of the past but he shrugs it off and will answer it at a later time. They make it to the Lair of the Lion Guard, where Rafiki introduces Makini to the rest of the Lion Guard; Beshte asks Rafiki why he needs an apprentice and asks if he's okay and he replies yes. He explains that in a painting showing when Makini was born the Great Kings of the Past chose her to be the next Royal Mjuzi and he asks Kion to gather the rest of his family for an official introduction before the two mandrills leave the lair. He asks Makini to try out her staff on the paintings and it works, Rafiki also explains that he is responsible for creating some of the paintings in the lair and many others were painted by previous Royal Mjuzis and it will be her turn.
Returning to Makini's early question, to which Rafiki called a very serious one he accepted that his apprentice must know the good as well as the bad. Through a painting, Rafiki explains that the Great Kings of the Past appear in the sky, their voices are in the wind and are seen every time Kion roars but the bad lions of the past are summoned through fire along with a combination of Kion's roar and throwing the bakora staff into the source of the fire. The bad lions of the past will appear even Scar, Makini thanks him for answering her question to which his grateful to do but he laughs at the fact that talking to bad lions is a bad idea.
Then, he introduces Makini to the Royal family after the young mandrill does it herself (much to his chagrin). After that, he sees Makini go off with Kiara to see if they can help Ma Tembo.
Later in the day, Rafiki waits along with the rest of the Pride Landers as Ma Tembo tries to find a new water source. Seeing that Makini has learned the meaning of quiet and calmness, he praises her for a job well done. When Makini points out that her staff is missing, Rafiki assures her that she can get a new one.
Rafiki teaches Makini to paint by listening 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. But a commotion causes her to drop the bowl instead. Rafiki drops down to investigate and discovers an elephant named Chama, a monkey named Furaha and a sable antelope named Mzaha messing around. After introducing themselves, they tell Rafiki that they're moving in downstairs, but Rafiki insists they leave. Makini persuades her mentor to let them stay, and he reluctantly agrees, provided they stay quiet enough for Makini to practice. After revealing to her that she will be painting for the royal family.
But the noise is too much for Rafiki, so he leaves to do some meditating. The Lion Guard notice him, and Rafiki explains what has happened When Beshte wonders why they aren't in their herds, and Rafiki admits that they don't stop talking long enough for him to ask. The Guard agree to see what they can do. After the Guard follow him back, Rafiki approaches Makini, who has started chanting with the animals. After she leaves, Rafiki encourages the animals to return home to play their part in the Circle of Life, and they finally agree to do so.
Later, as Makini starts to paint again, her bowl is knocked out of her hands by a familiar commotion. With Rafiki startled, he peers down to see the three animals have returned, discussing their new living quarters. They tell Rafiki that they just don't belong in their herds, but Rafiki orders them to find their own home, and the disappointed group eventually leave.
As Makini resumes painting a bit later, a few small flames drift over and start a fire outside. Makini finishes her painting, but before Rafiki shares his opinion, he smells the smoke. As the two mandrills call out for help, Chama, Mzaha, and Furaha return to help out. Chama starts by inhaling dirt and sprays it along the path leading to the tree. Mzaha then uses his short horns to create a trench leading there while Furaha keeps digging more for the trench. After calling to them, Rafiki lands on Chama and Makini lands on Mzaha, dropping her Bakora Staff. Rafiki refuses her to go back for it since another staff can be found, but she is unique. After the mandrills express their gratitude away from the fire, the three animals return to save the tree, much to Rafiki's surprise.
After the fire has been put out, Rafiki offers his three saviors the opportunity to live next to his tree, if they can be a bit quieter. But the animals kindly decline, since they have found a tree near Big Springs where they can be as loud as they want. Rafiki insists that they at least be his guest at the ceremony, and they accept. Makini, however, worries a little.
At Pride Rock, Simba makes an announcement about Makini's duties. After listening to the Lions of the Past, she paints an image of Simba, Nala, Kiara and Kion, which amazes the surrounding animals. Rafiki proudly joins his apprentice, pleased to see that she succeeded.
When a monitor lizard named Kenge bites and paralyzes Kion, Beshte, and Fuli, Ono is sent to get help from Rafiki. But when he is greeted by Makini, she explains that he's away for the day, and she steps in for him.
Makini listens to her mentor as he explains Kupatana to her. He goes on to say that as a Mjuzi, she too, will need to know all Pride Lands' traditions. She notices a painting of Timon, and Rafiki shows her how Timon is placing a Star Fruit on top of a Christmas tree. Noticing her confusion, Rafiki offers to explain Christmas to her, starting by showing her a large star which appears all day and night, the day before Christmas.
After telling the tale of how Timon and Pumbaa brought Christmas to the Pride Lands, he finishes by saying that it celebrates the gift of family, friends, and the joy of being together. Makini concludes that she believes Christmas to be the very essence of the Circle of Life, and Rafiki agrees.
When a drought hits the Pride Lands, Simba speaks with Rafiki about the water shortage, asking if any of the previous Kings ever found a solution. Rafiki states that if they did, they left very few clues, tapping on of one of his paintings depicts to animate it. The painting shows an earlier King leading his animals to a large, unknown watering hole.
Simba asks Rafiki where that particular watering hole is, and Makini pipes up to inform Simba that she has seen the same watering hole in the Back Lands and that it is owned by a herd of zebras. Simba quickly concludes that the watering hole belongs to Dhahabu. When the Guard arrive, Simba asks them to locate her and request that she share her water, urging them to offer something in return.
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.
The Lion Guard take over from Rafiki, with the mandrill returning to his meditations. But not before he kicks Cheezi away. Even with a fire raging nearby, Rafiki remains unphased until the Guard suggest that he leaves his meditating. Surprised to hear the battle is still ongoing, Rafiki joins the fight once more, helping the Lion Guard to take out both Janja's clan and Reirei's pack after they join.
In the end, he thanks the Lion Guard for allowing him to embrace his inner warrior, which has been a long time. Noticing Kion straying, Rafiki approaches him and asks what he's thinking about, but soon notices an eerie pattern burned into the ground. Fear strikes the mandrill, having recognized that pattern before. Beshte questions if it could be a coincidence, but Rafiki has his doubts, leaving to consult the paintings of the past.
Rafiki presents the Kumbuka to the animals of the Pride Lands, singing "Good King Simba" as a way of honoring Simba's victory over Scar. Just as Rafiki finishes singing and turns to the King himself, Simba collapses. Rafiki hurries over and overhears Simba weakly mention his tail. The wise mandrill investigates the tail, which has a small, swollen lump. He quickly deduces that Simba has been stung by a scorpion. Kion sends Ono out to track the scorpion and, when spotted, the Lion Guard race away to deal with it while Rafiki stays with Simba.
Back in Pride Rock, a deflated Rafiki gently places an ointment on Simba's sting. With Simba barely able to speak, Makini promises that they're trying their best, but cannot remember the cure. Her words suddenly jog Rafiki's memory, and he explains that Volcanic Ash is the only solution, although not only must it arrive by sundown, the closest volcano is the Outlands Volcano. When the Lion Guard accept the challenge for the sake of Simba, he hands Bunga a gourd. When the honey badger promptly breaks it, he locates another and hands it to Makini, promising her that the Lion Guard will protect her on their journey.
Sundown arrives, and Rafiki wipes away a tear when the Lion Guard still has not returned. He is relieved beyond measure when Fuli races in carrying Bunga, who holds the gourd. When Fuli trips, Bunga's grip is loosened, but Rafiki catches the gourd in time. By the time Makini, Beshte, Ono, and Kion arrive, Rafiki has placed the cure on Simba. He ushers them out, explaining that Simba needs his rest.
But before he leaves, Kion insists that he must speak to his father, and explains to Rafiki that Scar has returned. Concern sweeps over the mandrill, who agrees that he should speak to Simba as soon as his health has returned.
After speaking with Mufasa about Scar's return, Simba wishes to speak with Kongwe, the wisest animal in the Pride Lands. He asks Makini to escort her to the Pride Lands, with Rafiki telling his apprentice that it is one of the duties of a Royal Mjuzi. When Bunga interrupts and offers his own advice, Rafiki agrees with Kion that he is 'most definitely not' seeking advice from Bunga but from Kongwe. When Beshte tells them that Kongwe lives in Urembo River, Simba worries when he learns that the trip will take half a day to walk there. Fuli offers her own assistance, and Rafiki states that she can escort the escort.
When Fuli and Makini reach Urembo River, they realize that they should have asked Rafiki what animal Kongwe is, or at least what she looks like.
That night, Kongwe arrives at Pride Rock, where she confesses that she is unable to offer any advice on how to defeat Scar. She states that the patient animal eats the ripe fruit, and Fuli translates for her confused companions, by explaining that she means that they will find the solution eventually, after taking the time to look. Rafiki agrees that this is very wise, just before Kongwe assures them all that good always triumphs over evil, in time.
Rafiki is busy painting, but Ono notices that his wings should be a darker shade. Bunga offers to tell Rafiki about it, but instead makes a pose that knocks Rafiki's paints all over the place. Rafiki then tells everyone that he can't paint anymore without a specific type of paint, which has rare ingredients at either end of the Pride Lands. Kion offers to go look for them, and the Guard split up to locate them for Rafiki, who gives them a sample of the flowers he needs and points the way for each team.
When they return, they discover that Rafiki is painting again, and he explains how he actually had some left after all. He then tells them the true ingredient to his paintings - peace and quiet.
When Big Springs dries up, Kion and the Lion Guard decide to find the source of the drought, Kion vista Rafiki to ask for directions, and Rafiki directs them to a large mountain. He gifts Bunga with some stones that can be used to find the correct path, and the Gaurs sets off. Later, Rafiki laughs as Bunga overcomes his dislike of water.
When the members of the Lion Guard come across Rafiki, who is very distressed due to the misplacement of his staff, they agree to help search for it. When they eventually discover it, they realize that the staff has broken, Kion and his friends meet up with Rafiki, and explain the problem, Rafiki warmly praises them for their efforts and has made a new staff, allows them to keep the broken one.
When Fuli and Kion are mesmerized by a certain flower, Simba explains that it might be the last time they see it since the insects that usually bring pollen to them haven't been seen in a while. Rafiki adds that the butterflies have lost their way, and offers example paintings of the grub which will become the butterfly when Beshte asks about their appearance. He watches the Guard set out to bring them back, commenting that the Guard is always ready for anything.
When they return with the butterflies, Ono shows Rafiki a leaf full of the grubs which excite Rafiki, since they too will become butterflies.
When a Baby Hippo eats some unripe berries, he falls ill with a stomach ache and the Lion Guard turn to Rafiki to help locate some leaves which will heal him. Rafiki gladly informs them that he has some of those very leaves, but when he turns to show them it turns out the Baby Hippo has eaten them. When the Baby Hippo tells him that his stomach ache is still there, Rafiki scolds him, explaining how there weren't enough to cure him. Rafiki then describes the plant leaves instead. Just as they're leaving, Rafiki s about to suggest another possibility, but Bunga dismisses it, claiming that the leaves will be enough.
When they return, Baby Hippo has cheered up and is happily bouncing around Rafiki. The mandrill goes on to explain the other suggestion he was trying to put forward - that the stomach ache would not last long, and clear on its own. The Lion Guard then learn a lesson of their own about being patient.