Inside Ellen DeGeneres' Unforgettable Birthday Trip to Africa

After wife Portia de Rossi set up The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund for the host's 60th birthday, the two travelled to Rwanda to help out the gorillas

By Elyse Dupre Jun 04, 2018 3:06 PMTags

Even though Ellen DeGeneres turned 60 in January, the talk-show host kept the birthday celebration going last week by traveling to Africa with wife Portia de Rossi.

The trip was a special one for the couple. In February, de Rossi surprised DeGeneres by revealing she had set up The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund—a foundation that supports global conservation efforts for critically endangered species. The foundation's first initiative is building a permanent home for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. During their trip, the spouses visited Dr. Tara Stoinski, president of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, in Rwanda and spent some quality time with the animals.

"Today is here! We're landing in Rwanda to go look at the gorillas and to go help them and build a campus," DeGeneres said in a video of the couple flying into Rwanda. She also posted photos of the trio out in the field and a few up-close shots of her observing the primates.

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"I can't begin to describe what this experience was like or how much it means to me," DeGeneres captioned a video of a gorilla. "I'm so grateful."

She also wrote that "spending time with these gorillas changed my life."

However, the gorillas weren't the only animals they saw during the trip. DeGeneres and de Rossi also hung out with a few elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. 

In addition, they saw animals during their safari in Tanzania and brunched with a few giraffes while staying at Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

The trip was clearly a special one for DeGeneres.

"This was a trip I've been waiting my whole life to make," part of a caption read alongside a photo of her and de Rossi.

Of course, de Rossi knew the trip would be a dream come true for DeGeneres. After the Arrested Development star gifted her the Fund and trip in February, DeGeneres broke into tears.

"That is the best gift anyone could have given me," DeGeneres said at the time.

Luckily, Kristen Bell was able to fill in for DeGeneres while she was on her trip.

The organization has already received support from the couple's famous friends. In May, Ashton Kutcher donated $4 million to The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund.