The leaves of Kigelia africana are pinnate (compound), comprising two to five pairs of leaflets plus a terminal one (imparipinnate). Overall the leaf reaches 25 cm in length, the petiole another 15 cm. The leaves are opposite or growing in whorls of three, often crowded near stem tips.
The leaflets are oblong with rounded tips and bases, slightly asymmetric in shape, save the terminal one. The lowest leaflet pair is usually smaller than those nearer the leaf tip. The leaflet margins are mostly entire and variably wavy, sometimes slightly scalloped or toothed on young plants. Leaflet colour is yellowish to dark green above and either dull or glossy; the lower surface is paler. The texture of the leaves is leathery, hard and coarsely hairy on the lower surfaces of young leaves. The lateral veins are recessed on the upper surface, prominent below. The leaflet midribs and lateral veins are cream coloured, pale agains the green surfaces. The rachis or central leaf axis is grooved on the upper leaf surface.
K. africana is deciduous to semi-deciduous; leaves dropping late in winter if they do, followed by bright green spring foliage (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Van Wyk and Van Wyk, 1997).