The main stem of Rauvolfia caffra is bare and tall, up to 1,5 m in diameter. The trunk is mostly straight, becoming buttressed in mature specimens. The photo of a planted Kirstenbosch tree that grew multiple stems from the base shows the light coloured, thinly corky bark. With age the bark cracks into small squares on the lower, bigger stem parts, becoming somewhat rough.
Higher up, where branching is plentiful, older branches turn yellow-brown. On young trees the stem surfaces are rippled to wrinkled.
The bark is said to be very bitter (as the sap), information readily obtained in the days when the tree still served in the treatment of malaria (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Schmidt, et al, 2002; Pooley, 1993).