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Level: 45 - 50
Battle Pet Level: 13 - 14
Major settlements
Minor settlements

South of Thousand Needles

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.


When the Great Sundering shattered the ancient landmass, the area swiftly became the desert of Tanaris. The sandfury tribe of sand trolls were stranded here and eventually adapted to their harsh new environment.[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.

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.[5]

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.

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and 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.[6]

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.[6]

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

Maps and subregions

Abyssal Sands · Bootlegger Outpost · Broken Pillar · Caverns of Time · Dunemaul Compound · Dunemaul Recruitment Camp · Eastmoon Ruins · Gadgetzan · The Gaping Chasm · Land's End Beach (Steelspark Station) · Lost Rigger Cove · Noonshade Ruins · The Noxious Lair · Sandsorrow Watch · South Seas · Southbreak Shore · Southmoon Ruins · Steamwheedle Port · Thistleshrub Valley · Uldum · Valley of the Watchers (Dawnrise Expedition · Ruins of Uldum) · Waterspring Field · Wavestrider Beach · Zalashji's Den · Zul'Farrak



Map of Tanaris


Dungeon Name Level Range Group Size Approximate Run Time
Instance portal Zul'Farrak 46-49 5-man 2–3 hours
TBCInstance portal Caverns of Time: Escape from Durnholde Keep 66-68 5-man 1 hour 15 minutes
TBCInstance portal Caverns of Time: Opening the Dark Portal 70 5-man 45 minutes
TBCInstance portal Caverns of Time: Battle for Mount Hyjal 70 25-man Unknown
WotLKInstance 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 Horde Alliance 40-45 North By foot or by flying
Un'Goro Crater Horde Alliance 50-55 West By foot or by flying
UldumIcon Cataclysm 18x18.gif Horde Alliance 83-84 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
Tanaris before Cataclysm
Main article: Tanaris storyline

For pre-cataclysm story line see Tanaris quests.


Wild creatures



  • 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".[7]

Patch changes

  • 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 16x16.png 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