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Level: 40 - 60
Battle Pet Level: 13 - 14
Former ruler(s)
Major settlements
Minor settlements

Southeastern Kalimdor

PvP status

Contested territory (PvP realms only)

Sources: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

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. 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.


Tanaris used to be a jungle 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.[4]

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.

During the Ahn'Qiraj War, the area was invaded by the armies of C'Thun.

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.[5] In the same year, the human brothers Greydon Thorne and Silverlaine visited Gadgetzan.[6]

The area was invaded twice by the Scourge in the years leading to the war against the Lich King.[7]

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.[8]

Legion This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.

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

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.[9]

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.

The RPG Icon 16x36.png Warcraft RPG


Dungeon Name Level Range Group Size Approximate Run Time
Instance portal Zul'Farrak 46-49 5-man 2–3 hours
The Burning CrusadeInstance portal Caverns of Time: Escape from Durnholde Keep 66-68 5-man 1 hour 15 minutes
The Burning CrusadeInstance portal Caverns of Time: Opening the Dark Portal 70 5-man 45 minutes
The Burning CrusadeInstance portal Caverns of Time: Battle for Mount Hyjal 70 25-man Unknown
Wrath of the Lich KingInstance portal Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme 80 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18.gifInstance portal Caverns of Time: Endtime 85 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18.gifInstance portal Caverns of Time: Well of Eternity 85 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18.gifInstance portal Caverns of Time: Hour of Twilight 85 5-man Unknown
Icon Cataclysm 18x18.gifInstance portal Caverns of Time: Dragon Soul 85 10/25-man Unknown

Travel hubs

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

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.


Not many can survive in the harsh desert
Main article: Tanaris storyline

For pre-cataclysm story line see Tanaris quests.


Wild creatures

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

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.[9]

Notes & trivia

  • According to the Gordunni ogres, Tanaris is covered in Dunemaul ogre poo.[10]
  • 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".[11]


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.svg Patch 1.1.0 (2004-11-07): Added as a level 40 - 50 zone.
  • Patch 0.8 (2004-07-07): New music has been added to the desert region.
  • Patch 0.7 (2004-06-15): Opened and itemized.


External links