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Not to be confused with Taranis.
For how Tanaris was prior to Cataclysm, see Tanaris (Classic).
Level: 15 - 50
Battle Pet Level: 13 - 14
Capital(s) Neutral Gadgetzan
Neutral Zul'Farrak
Races GoblinGoblin Goblin
Sand trollSand troll Sand troll
HumanHuman Human
OgreOgre Ogre
OrcOrc Orc
SilithidSilithidSilithidSilithid Silithid
Blood elfBlood elf Blood elf
DwarfDwarf Dwarf
GnomeGnome Gnome
TrollTroll Troll
Sea giant Sea giant

Neutral IconSmall Goblin Male Marin Noggenfogger
Neutral IconSmall SandTroll Male Ukorz Sandscalp

Neutral IconSmall NozdormuDragon IconSmall Nozdormu Nozdormu
Former ruler(s)

Neutral IconSmall Human Male Captain Dreadbeard †

Neutral IconSmall Human Male Caliph Scorpidsting †
Major settlements Neutral Caverns of Time
Neutral Lost Rigger Cove
Neutral Southbreak Shore
Minor settlements Horde Dunemaul Recruitment Camp
Horde Dawnrise Expedition
Alliance Steelspark Station
Alliance Gunstan's Dig
Neutral Bootlegger Outpost
Neutral Steamwheedle Port (destroyed)
Neutral Dunemaul Compound
Neutral Sandsorrow Watch
Affiliation Steamwheedle Cartel, Farraki tribe, Southsea Freebooters, Dunemaul clan, Horde, Alliance, Wastewander, Bronze dragonflight
Location Southeastern Kalimdor
PvP status Contested territory

Tanaris, or the Tanaris Desert,[1][2] (pronounced Tuh-NAYR-ihs or Tuh-NUHR-ihs[3]) is a desert located in Southern Kalimdor, east of Un'Goro Crater and south of Thousand Needles. It is an arid land, covered in sand dunes and frequently exposed to dangerous sandstorms.[4] The Steamwheedle Cartel goblins have established Steamwheedle Port and Gadgetzan as their main centers of operation. The dock in Steamwheedle Port was presumably used for transport to the outer islands of the Undermine, the goblin capital, but it was destroyed in the Cataclysm, which also brought the ocean to Gadgetzan, where the goblins built a new dock for their shipping needs.


New Uldum entrance

Ruins of Uldum.

Tanaris used to be a jungle[5] and territory of the Gurubashi Empire. When the Great Sundering shattered the ancient landmass, the area swiftly became the desert of Tanaris. The Farraki tribe of trolls were stranded here and eventually adapted to their harsh new environment, becoming sand trolls.[6]

Tanaris is the ancestral home of the bronze dragonflight based out of the Caverns of Time. The titans also have a holding here in the form of an entrance to the ancient land of Uldum, found in the southern parts of the desert. It was here that Anachronos first discovered the full threat of the silithid, who had been making hives in the remote regions of Tanaris. The War of the Shifting Sands was consequently unleashed upon the western land of Silithus.

Approximately four years after the end of the Second War, Cho'gall and his Twilight's Hammer clan followers arrived to Tanaris and entered its cave complex where they made a base. Not soon after, several of the members went missing or were found dead, killed by Garona Halforcen. The cultists thus left the cave complex.[7] In the same year, the human brothers Greydon Thorne and Silverlaine visited Gadgetzan.[8]

During the Ahn'Qiraj War, the area was invaded by the armies of C'Thun, as well as invaded twice by the Scourge in the years leading to the war against the Lich King.[9]

With the Cataclysm, Steamwheedle Port and many parts of Tanaris were flooded, making Gadgetzan a port. Some Tanaris goblins wisely invested in desert real estate and reaped the benefits when it became beach-front property.[10]

At some point, Grizzek Fizzwrench claimed a deserted beach in Tanaris where he constructed a small domicile and laboratory. Over the next years, he built a defense system using various robots and devices.[11]

Legion This section concerns content related to Legion.

The Burning Legion targeted Tanaris as one of their invasion points. It was successfully defended by the Alliance, Horde, and Illidari.

After the Fourth War, Tanaris was visited by Rexxar and Zekhan. Settlements and various areas of the desert remain mostly the same; the crushed Steamwheedle Port is now being used by the Southsea Freebooters, and the Gaping Chasm remains one of the most active hives of the silithid.[12] Now, Tanaris boasts with camels. The traveling duo also found Dormus the Camel-Hoarder who had come to Tanaris to fill his personal stable of camels.[13]

Getting there[]

While questing through Thousand Needles players will be sent from the Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge south through the Shimmering Deep and through the mountain pass to the south. Gadgetzan will be soon after entering.

There are also portals in Dalaran (The Violet Citadel) and Shattrath (World's End Tavern, by talking to Zephyr - requires Revered with Keepers of Time) which take you to the entry of the Caverns of Time.


Tanaris covers a vast expanse of Southern Kalimdor, just south of Thousand Needles. It is a blazing hot expanse of rolling sand dunes under a cloudless sky. The southern region is more mountainous, with large cavern networks, with some extending deep beneath the surface. A vast realm, Tanaris holds many secrets. The land is mostly desert, and below ground are gigantic tunnel networks. They remain largely unexplored, for few have the fortitude to venture into such a harsh landscape. Still, rumors tell of all manner of creatures that hide within the tunnels and slaughter trespassers without hesitation. Although the sea of dunes does not look as if it would support a variety of wildlife, humans, Sandfury trolls, hyenas, scorpids, basilisks, and silithid bugs are quite common. Occasionally, drakes are also seen soaring on the thermals that swirl over the great desert.[14]

Tanaris contains quite a few instances, including all the Caverns of Time instances, as well as Zul'Farrak.

Maps and subregions[]


Map of Tanaris.


Map of Tanaris prior to Cataclysm.

Undisplayed locations

Removed locations

Icon-RPG Warcraft RPG




Dungeon Name Level Range Group Size Approximate Run Time
Instance portal Zul'Farrak 46-49 5-man 2–3 hours
Bc iconInstance portal Caverns of Time: Escape from Durnholde Keep 66-68 5-man 1 hour 15 minutes
Bc iconInstance portal Caverns of Time: Opening the Dark Portal 70 5-man 45 minutes
Bc iconInstance portal Caverns of Time: Battle for Mount Hyjal 70 25-man Unknown
Wrath-Logo-SmallInstance portal Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme 80 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18Instance portal Caverns of Time: Endtime 85 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18Instance portal Caverns of Time: Well of Eternity 85 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18Instance portal Caverns of Time: Hour of Twilight 85 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18Instance portal Caverns of Time: Dragon Soul 85 10/25-man Unknown

Travel hubs[]



Noonshade ruins

Noonshade Ruins

Regions adjacent to Tanaris[]

Zone Name Faction Level Range Direction Access
Thousand Needles HordeAlliance 40 - 60 North By foot or by flying
Un'Goro Crater HordeAlliance 40 - 60 West By foot or by flying
CataclysmUldum HordeAlliance 83 - 90 Southwest By foot or by flying

Notable characters[]

Tanaris Desert scenes01

Travelers from Gadgetzan didn't get far

Main article: Tanaris NPCs

Tanaris is home to several characters of note such as Narain Soothfancy and Marin Noggenfogger.


Tanaris Desert scenes02

Not many can survive in the harsh desert

Main article: Tanaris storyline

For pre-cataclysm story line see Tanaris quests.


Thistleshrub Valley

Thistleshrub Valley

Wild creatures[]

The Noxious Lair

The Noxious Lair

The Gaping Chasm

The Gaping Chasm

In the RPG[]

Icon-RPG This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Tanaris is a desert located south of the Shimmering Flats. It is all shifting sands and rocky wasteland. In Tanaris, water is a precious commodity, even more than gold. You can buy water bottles in Gadgetzan as there are no easily attainable sources of water anywhere in the desert, and bringing it in by ship or trade route is more expensive than sinking wells. For that reason, goblins and gnomes build wells across the desert to farm fresh water. The Gadgetzan Waterworks Company, or GWC, runs the whole operation, without which just about everybody in Tanaris would die of thirst. Almost everybody leaves the wells alone, except for the Wastewander Bandits. Furthermore, if you get too close to the coast in the wrong place, sea giants come out and make a meal of you. Wandering the desert alone is risky but you may be able to travel with a GWC patrol if they agree to be your guides.[15]


It is said that Tanaris once housed a Titan city, a place known as Uldum. The city seems to be lost as no one has been able to find it. Perhaps the sands cover it, or maybe Uldum is just another name for the Caverns of Time.

Tanaris was also once part of the Gurubashi Empire, a troll nation that existed long before the Sundering and once covered a great part of the world. The Sundering smashed this empire, separating the trolls into tiny fragments of their former greatness. Zul'Farrak may not be a ruin of the Gurubashi, as it is too recent, although it may have been built atop such a ruin.

Little is known about the Caverns of Time. It seems it has always been there, a permanent landmark — surviving even changes as violent as the Sundering. Perhaps it exists outside of time itself, as a sage suggests.[16]

Tanaris has been an endless sea of sand for aeons. Nozdormu, the great dragon of time, was said to make this land his home since time immemorial, thriving in the solitude of oppressive heat and miles of sand.[14]

Explorers that venture into the desert are warned that it has little to no cover at all. If the bandits see you, and is highly probable they will even from a distance, they will be waiting over in the next sand dune. As there are almost never any clouds at night, the moonlight makes you stand out so moving only at night is as dangerous as in the day. The worst creatures come out at night, too, like scorpids and silithid. Moreover, it gets downright cold at night.[17]

People and culture[]

The two towns of Tanaris, Gadgetzan and Steamwheedle Port, were built and are manned mostly by goblins, with some gnomes helping out here and there. Almost all of them work for the Gadgetzan Waterworks Company. Outside the cities, the need for water is still key, but the means to get it differ. The Wastewander Bandits steal it, while the Dunemaul ogres and Sandfury trolls control the only natural wells in the region. The Southsea Pirates get theirs by raiding, or simply sailing further up the coast to resupply.

About twice a year rain falls on Tanaris. When this happens, it's not just a drizzle, but an intense downpour that lasts for hours. The few scraggly plants that survive in the desert do so chiefly because of this tiny bit of moisture, but for the residents of Gadgetzan, it's a cause for celebration.[15]


Like Thousand Needles, Tanaris is a desert; but unlike the barren rocks to the northwest, this desert is made up of sand dunes. From a distance it resembles an ocean, except the waves are brown and don't move. When the wind kicks up, though, intense storms result, causing the dunes to change position and shape. If you visit Tanaris one month, you might come back the next and find that everything has moved around.

Gadgetzan and Steamwheedle Port, as well as the troll city of Zul'Farrak, are located up near the edge of the northern mountains. Because the winds blow out in the plains, theses settlements are usually spared the shifting sands treatment. Still, everywhere you go there's going to be sand. Although there isn't a lot of life in the desert, what you find there is hardy as it is their only way to survive. You can find scorpids, buzzards, elementals and hyenas, all of which are masters at finding water. If they couldn't get it from a well, they would simply catch and kill something for its blood.

The northern edge of Tanaris is blocked by steep hills, running all the way to the edge of Un'Goro Crater to the west and the ocean to the east. A few scattered hills and mountains litter the landscape, but mostly it's just open dunes everywhere you look. In the southwest, near the Thistleshrub Valley, there is a sloping path into Un'Goro.[18]

Notes and trivia[]

  • According to the Gordunni ogres, Tanaris is covered in Dunemaul ogre poo.[19]
  • World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3 describes a cave complex beneath Tanaris. Previously, Gadgetzan Gazette from Hearthstone canon mentioned underground ruins upon which a Gadgetzan manor was built and which predate the city of Gadgetzan.
  • Before patch 4.0.1, Alliance players didn't have any travel hubs in Thousand Needles, so Gadgetzan made a great alternative to get to Shimmering Flats since it was just a short run over the hill to get there. Even Horde players could benefit from this shortcut as it was even faster than running from Freewind Post.
  • There is an alternative route to get to Tanaris that is much quicker for players in Dustwallow Marsh. By traveling to the Theramore Docks, on the eastern coast of Dustwallow, and swimming south around the mountains that surround the Shimmering Flats, you can easily get to Steamweedle Port, so long as you hug the shoreline; failure to do so will result in death by fatigue. This is made much easier using a Swim Speed Potion, a druid's Aquatic Form, a shaman's Water Walking or a similar ability.
  • Currently, Tanaris has the largest amount of dungeons in the game.
  • One of the names for oil is "Tanaris Tea".[20]


Patch changes[]

  • Legion Patch 7.3.5 (2018-01-16): Level scaling implemented, previous zone level: 45 - 50.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Reshaped with the Cataclysm as a level 45 - 50 zone. New quests, new NPCs etc. added.
  • WoW Icon update Patch 1.1.0 (2004-11-07): Added as a level 40 - 50 zone.
  • Test-inline Patch 0.8 (2004-07-07): New music has been added to the desert region.
  • Test-inline Patch 0.7 (2004-06-15): Opened and itemized.


  1. ^ N [41] Safety First
  2. ^ World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide, Updated and Expanded, pg. 17
  3. ^ Patch 4.1.0 trailer
  4. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor, pg. 122
  5. ^ Matt Burns on Twitter (2018-07-03).​ “- "This reinforces that Tanaris used to be mostly a jungle, correct ? The Troll Compendium mentions that, with the Sundering, the "tribe [was] stranded in the middle of what swiftly became the desert of Tanaris." And their name used to be Razor-"branch". "I believe that was also the intention. Or at least more vegetation than there is now."”
  6. ^ Troll Compendium/Sand Troll Tribes
  7. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 26
  8. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, chapter 38
  9. ^ Argent Emissary#Quotes
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Before the Storm, chapter 6
  12. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor, pg. 125, 129
  13. ^ a b World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor, pg. 135
  14. ^ a b Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 210
  15. ^ a b Lands of Mystery, pg. 57
  16. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 59
  17. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 59 - 60
  18. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 57 - 58
  19. ^ Gordunni ogres flavor text
  20. ^ B [15-30] Defend the Drill

External links[]