It had been three years since my previous safaris in Africa, and so was excited to be heading into Tarangire National Park in Tanzania.
There is something special about being on safari, and I had missed it.
Tarangire is famous for its elephant population, and you can see why upon entering the park, they are absolutely everywhere.
Going further into Tarangire the terrain you encounter is typical African bush, with a river running through it.
Being dry season the river is very low, but there is still enough mud for the elephants to cool off from the sun.
Elephants love rolling around in the mud and blowing dirt over their bodies, while their low grumbles and trumpeting sounds echo across the landscape.
There are plenty of zebra and wildebeast around, hanging about the watering holes to quench their thirst. Zebras are one of the more beautiful animals you will see on a safari anywhere in Africa, while wildebeast may appear to be their ugly siblings.
A massive male bull elephant was seen, appearing very close to the safari vehicle. Sometimes big elephants use mock charges, where they move towards you at speed, but stop short.
This elephant had other ideas and was not a problem. Elephants are very intelligent and interesting, but can be very dangerous.
Cheetahs can be very difficult to spot, they are well camouflaged, and somewhat shy.
But in the midday sun they, like most cats, enjoy relaxing under the shade of a cool tree. Two were seen doing just that, exhausted from the heat.
With the more popular animals around it can be easy to overlook the smaller ones, but they are just as interesting, and bring their own charm to the African safari experience.
There are some spectacular baobab trees inside Tarangire that are impressive to look at, vultures clinging to their twisted branches in search of an easy meal.
With predators at work, there are plenty of scraps to be found.
Another large bull elephant came close, this one with broken tusks.
With time running out, and the campsite outside the park needing to be reached before dark, it was only fitting to see elephants one last time before leaving.
My first safari in three years had been great, and set the tone for what was to come.
Up next was a wildlife display you dream off, in one of the best safari destinations in the world, the Serengeti
Have a read of my very detailed guide for planning a safari in East Africa.
And my backpacking Tanzania itinerary.