Drums are used for communication in central Africa. Many languages of the Bantu family of languages, spoken there, have drum equivalents. It works just about like the morse code, except that the morse code uses letters as units, and the drum communication uses words.
Intonation is very important in the Bantu languages. A word can have completely different meanings, depending on the intonation. That intonation relies on high/low tones. These tones can easily be duplicated by the drums. Of course, there are words that have the same amount of syllables and have the same intonation. How do they handle this problem? The Africans just tell something more about the word, so the receiver can derive the meaning of the word from the context it is used in. You can imagine that a message sent using drums could get quite long.