“A veritable monsoon!” Is how I often describe it, and it is. Its cause is the same weather patterns that cause the monsoon to sweep up through India – monsoon is the Indian word for their rainy season and kremt is the Amharic word.
And rather like the monsoon in India it does not rain all day, but rather heavy downpours roll through, skies darken, the wind picks up and torrential rain, often with hail follows. Later on or next morning the skies are clear and the sun shines brightly for some hours. Its not a bad time to be in Addis or in Ethiopia. Pack an umbrella, put on the some boots, and head off to explore. If your visiting, just be ready to dive into a coffee shop and sit out the rain.
This year in Addis the Kremt is giving us a lot of sun and glorious weather, with much of the rain in the night. This is worrying, as the rain that comes to Addis is far more than the rain that goes to many other regions of Ethiopia, all of which depend on the Kremt to start off their crops, allow the meadows to grow hay, refill the water table so springs are replenished, refill reservoirs to generate electricity. If the rains intensify now that would be good, and they need to be strong through into late September. The official date for the end of the Kremt is Meskerem 25th which this year falls on 6th October, but already by the Meskal holiday (Meskerem 17 or 28th September) the rains will usually become far less frequent and the signs will be there that the dry season is coming.
A reminder for anyone looking to do some trekking. Tigray is fantastic for walking at this time of year. It does not rain much there, mostly at night, and the sun will be out in the morning. Let us know if you would like to make a trek and we can organise it.
Rainbow comes out over the mountains in Tigray
The Kremt rains (as the season is called) officially begins on Senay 26 ( 3rd July) according to the old church calendar and runs till Meskerem 25 (this year that will be 6th October). For those new to Addis it does not rain all day every day, but by mid August it will begin to feel like it has! For those hankering for a bit of sun, it does not rain all over the country, and certainly other parts of Ethiopia are not as wet as Addis. The Rift valley gets more frequent showers and some sweeping rain, but when the sun comes out its a good deal warmer, but up north in Tigray it stays bright. Most mornings dawn with a blue sky and cloud does not roll in till later on in the afternoon. With the sandy soil keeping the paths more dry, we keep the community treks open all through the Kremt.
Prickly Pear – the Beles fruit, from the Cactus
So why not make a long weekend trip and come on up to Tigray? The Prickly Pears (Cactus fruit called ‘Beles’) ripen and can be eaten along the way, the mountains green up and it is very beautiful. If you would like to end with a night at Gheralta Lodge, there are special low season prices to make it more attractive.
A 3 night trip, with 2 nights at the community guest houses and one night at Gheralta Lodge will cost $645 per person including local flights (with Ethiopian ID or resident card), and 4 WD transport. Excludes church entry. For full details see Journey in the mountains of Tigray
For those who prefer the vegan fare, this week brings back the yesom bayenetu (mixed fasting food dish) -with its wonderful selection of tasty vegan dishes, often with a fried fish too. Following the long fast that led up to Easter, was a few months of no fasting, but with the Senay Tsom starting yesterday – as the Fast of the Apostles is called, comes back the regular Wednesday and Friday fasting that most Orthodox believers will follow (as the Senay Tsom is not strictly for all).
The Fast of the Apostles ends with the feast of Peter and Paul on 12 July, and it begins each year 8 days after Pentecost. Thus it’s start is tied to Easter and can move around. So this fast may be as short as 8 days or as long as 42 days. This year with the early Easter it is the maximum 42 days long!
By the time it finishes we will be well into the full Krempt rains – although judging by the last few weeks Addis Ababa wis already there!
So enjoy the fasting food in the coming weeks, and keep your umbrella handy!
Fasting selection with Ethiopian beer