A Toronto man has embarked on an ambitious journey to walk across Africa in hopes of testing his physical endurance and connecting with his heritage.

The trek will take Mario Rigby from Cape Town to Cairo, crossing through jungles, forests and deserts in 12 countries. The 10,000-kilometre walk is expected to last about two years.

Since arriving in South Africa last November, Rigby says he’s already received a warm welcome – a kindness he attributes to the maple leaf on his cap.

“I don’t know if it’s because I wear the Canadian hat, but people have been really, really, really super supportive,” he told CTV Toronto via Facetime.

Rigby started preparing for the journey for months before his departure. He walked from Toronto to Montreal last fall -- a 550-kilometre trek -- in 14 days.

“I have endured tremendous pain where most nights I would walk between 12 and 16 hours,” he wrote after the Toronto-Montreal hike. “Overall though I have met so many amazing people along the journey that I could tell you stories for months of all the kind-hearted and amazing people I have encountered.”

His African adventure will include between 35 to 40 kilometres of walking each day. He plans to sleep at hostels or find lodging with locals, but is prepared to camp outdoors if the situation arises.

Rigby will record the expedition with a video camera and hopes to produce a documentary after he’s done.

“There’s a lot that needs to be shared and I feel like I kind of have a duty to do that,” he said.

Rigby has begun writing a blog about his trip and will regularly update his location throughout the journey.

With files from CTV Toronto’s Michelle Dube