De Rossi, 46, shared details about her visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda during Wednesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
De Rossi surprised DeGeneres in 2018 by establishing The Ellen Fund in honor of the television personality's 60th birthday. The fund's first project is the center in Rwanda, and de Rossi attended the groundbreaking last week.
"A little baby [gorilla] at one point started just waddling over to me and I just wanted to pick it up and kiss it on its fuzzy head," the actress gushed.
"It was an incredible experience," she said. "I just couldn't believe the feeling of gratitude, which was really overwhelming for me. Not just from people that are going to directly benefit, but just the entire area."
"There are 1,500 jobs that'll be created. Millions of dollars will go into the economy because of your campus," the star told DeGeneres. "It was a really special, pretty overwhelming moment."
De Rossi and DeGeneres previously visited Rwanda together in 2018.
"We fell in love with the people of the country because the people are happy and friendly. It's a beautiful country," DeGeneres said.
DeGeneres celebrated her 61st birthday Jan. 26. De Rossi said she kept her gift simple this year by giving the television personality gardening tools.